This isn’t about growth, it’s class war

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 am, July 19th, 2010 - 64 comments
Categories: Economy, spin, workers' rights - Tags:

Marty wrote this morning about the economic downsides of National’s Fire at Will policy and attacking workers’ rights and wages generally.

I’ve got a question of my own. Does John Key have any evidence or official advice to back up his claim that taking away workers’ rights to basic fairness and natural justice promotes growth? If so, how much weathier will New Zealand’s workers be as a result of taking away our job security and bargaining power?

Any answers Mr Key? Anything to back up your claims? Of course not.

Admit it. This is another wealth grab for the weathly at the expense of working Kiwis, executed by the party of the wealthy elite who have always (and will always, while we let them) sucked the blood of working people.

64 comments on “This isn’t about growth, it’s class war”

  1. I would venture the following:

    Does John Key have any evidence or official advice to back up his claim that taking away workers’ rights to basic fairness and natural justice promotes growth?

    Not a skerret. Who needs evidence when you are massaging right wing prejudices?

    If so, how much weathier will New Zealand’s workers be as a result of taking away our job security and bargaining power?

    They will not. The pressure on wages is all one way and it is down.

    I am particularly afraid for the Trade Union Movement. Can you imagine a budding trade union activist surviving for 90 days?

    • Roger 1.1

      I personally would venture this:

      Does John Key have any evidence or official advice to back up his claim that taking away workers’ rights to basic fairness and natural justice promotes growth?

      No. But the idea of how this works is viewed in the Karate Kid. Daniel gets his backside handed to him on a regular basis so he responds by becoming a great fighter. So if we constantly bully workers they will be motivated to earn more or become business people.

      If so, how much weathier will New Zealand’s workers be as a result of taking away our job security and bargaining power?

      Based on the same case study as the Karate Kid, New Zealand’s workers will be wealthier than their previous employers just like Daniel was a better fighter than his rival who beat him up earlier.

      How different does this really sound to right wing ideology if you remove direct referrences to the Karate Kid?

  2. r0b 2

    Promote growth? Hardly.

    If I have a safe job why would I ever leave it for the lottery of 90 days?

    All this does is make the workforce risk averse, lock everything into a morbid status-quo. Good for innovation and mobility? No.

    • indiana 2.1

      I’m guessing you wouldn’t enter the lottery because when you went to the interview you asked if there was a trail period in your contract, they said yes, and you said well lets no go any further with the interview.

      If you didn’t have a safe job in the first place, you may have a different view about taking that job.

      • Zorr 2.1.1

        I wouldn’t. If the company wished to hire me in good faith, then they should show me that faith in a tangible sense by leaving out such a clause.

  3. OleOlebiscuitBarrell 3

    Only I don’t think he’s claiming it’ll promote growth. Other claims he has not made for the legislation include: saving the baby seals; ending global warming; stopping the universe expanding; making me attractive to Brazilian supermodels.

    It is designed to convince employers that there is no downside to taking a chance on employing an employee who they would not otherwise employ out of fear of getting sued.

  4. Bored 4

    Its the reverse side of productivity….less wages making more equals more productivity. Low wage serf economy is where this is going.

    With regard to growth I can pretty miuch state that its a false horizon, you can only grow so far before you wreck the environment and hit a resource wall. I dont expect the short termist Nacts to ever realise this, but we do need a strong viable non growth orientataed model. Any takers, or are you all sitting comfortably dodo like in your current paradigm.

    • loota 4.1

      For fraks’ sake can anyone who is not loony left please take Bored seriously and give us some alternatives to this unpalatable failing centrist/right wing economic diet we have been force fed for the last 25 years.

      The people are not supposed to meet the needs of the economy, the damn economy is supposed to meet the needs of the people.

      • rainman 4.1.1

        Read “Prosperity without Growth” by Tim Jackson. Or the Green New Deal stuff. Neither perfect, but good options to pursue further. There’s an LSE podcast of Tim speaking at his book launch if you want the one hour summary rather than the few hours reading required.

        But the issue is not the nature of the alternative – it’s how to voluntary transition to any alternative. We are not favourably disposed toward discussions of the need for change, generally speaking. Try raise the inevitable collapse of current-model capitalism at your next barbecue, or around the office. Or the inarguable need for reporting systems that measure real human flourishing rather than just the movement of money; the clear problems caused by inequality; the looming decline of critical energy and other resources; our inability to reasonably price externalities; the simplistic blue team vs red team politics that constitutes our national discourse; the parlous state of the media, etc. etc.

        We may be too far down the rabbit-hole to find our way out in time.

      • BLiP 4.1.2

        Can’t go past “Small Is Beautiful”. Mind you, since I’m a Greenie I guess that makes me part of your definition of “Loony Left”.

    • Bill 4.2

      “a strong viable non growth orientataed model”. That is also highly democratic? And that delivers equitable outcome as a default? Here you go.

      http://www.zcommunications.org/topics/parecon

      Thing is, I’ve posted the link ( or very similar ones) on a few occasions here and I can’t recall an instance where anybody has indicated that they have actually explored the ideas, never mind stated their position on them.

  5. The Baron 5

    And here I was thinking that class based politics is lazy label based thinking! I thought that people only used it as a short cut to actually thinking about issues and how they may balance out, instead of lumping people into categories based on their one-and-only destiny in life – predetermined and inviolate. Clearly I am so very wrong.

    Cor and when did this war start?!

    But I need some help – cos I can’t work out what side I’m meant to be on…

    – I got a job, so am I a worker?
    – I pay the top tax rate, so am I a rich prick?
    – I have invested my savings, so am I a wanker speculator?
    – I have employed people in the past, so have I previously been a capitalist hog? Am I still one now cos of that history?

    So confused. Please help me oh standardistas – apparently the lines are so clear that anyone can make them out, so please tell me what I’m missing! I want to ensure that people have as many barriers to getting a job as possible too, and freak out about, ah, what again?

    I so want to join the pickets with my comrades – well, if I’m eligible of course!

    • I believe that class is a relevant and appropriate way to explain social pressures and analyse the current situation.

      I am really simplifying this but there are three basic approaches that have been advocated by different groups at different times:

      1. We are one big happy family and whatever we do for the wealthy is good for all of us. These people believe that trickle down works.
      2. Employers and workers have competing interests but as long as these are managed properly and minimum protections put in place this system can work. This is more akin to Labour thinking.
      3. Employers and workers have competing interests that cannot be reconciled. We need to nationalise the means of production. The odd Comunist state may still believe in this.

      Of course people can be part of different groups at different times depending on how their circumstances change.

      The current thinking of this Government clearly points to 1. They think that if you make it easier for the employer it gets better for everyone. This is lazy thinking and is clearly wrong.

      I suspect most kiwis would think that 2. is the fairest system. Until some concept of balance is introduced into Key’s thinking 2. will become a distant fond memory of Clark’s era.

      • The Baron 5.1.1

        God now I’m even more confused. Didn’t you hear, Micky – there’s a war on, and even you can’t tell me what side I’m meant to be on despite all my a-frettin.

        Even your supposed miracle “tripartite split” doesn’t work – am I a worker in this analysis? Does this tell me what side I’m on?

        Wow, the simple question still stands – where are the classes in NZ? Tell me the distinguising characteristics so I know where the battle lines are.

        Uh oh, no we can’t answer that – its all just emotive crap from the ever more irrelevant Standard. Whoops, shouldn’t have wished for more than dumb hyperbole from Eddie huh.

    • Rex Widerstrom 5.2

      Good questions, The Baron. I was challenged a few weeks back for my “old fashioned” views that differentials in society are more about class than, say, race, sex or other factors.

      But because more and more people are in the sort of position in which you find yourself, I’d argue that “class” is nowadays more about a state of mind, and thet therefore it does have a greater influence than do other factors.

      It’s perhaps not as evident in NZ because many of us aren’t all that acquisitive and those who are have the “class” (in the other sense of the word) to remain relatively low key about their wealth.

      But in Australia, the rise of the “cashed up bogan” has been so meteoric – driven by the mining boom – that support for my thesis becomes readily apparent.

      These people are, in the main, from working or lower middle class families. They went to state schools and then to TAFE (polytechnic) or straight into an apprenticeship. Some lived in neighbourhoods dominated by housing commission homes and some even grew up in those homes themselves.

      But demand for their skills sees them earnings amounts about which their parents could only dream. A generation ago, the take-home wage of a bricklayer today was achievable only if you’d not only got a degree but had rise to partnership status in a law or accounting firm or become one of a handful of entrepreneurs.

      So one might expect these people to be true to their class roots and have a degree of compassion for the less fortunate, a reluctance to indulge in “up yours” displays of wealth, and to generally possess the values of their parents.

      You’d be wrong. In the main these people (called “aspirational” by marketers) can’t get enough plasma TVs, utes and McMansions. They live to show off their wealth and if you’re unlucky enough to get trapped next to one at a barbeque all you’ll hear about is property prices and the cost of maintaining their jet skis. And if you raise the issue of the homeless, the poor, those in prison or refugees you’re likely to get a spray of invective that’s make David Garrett blush.

      In short they display all the trappings and the attitudes of the archetypical “nasty righty”. Yet they’re from solid Labor stock (many still vote Labor, which is why it’s being dragged to the right) and, ironically, would never get invited to an “A list” event no matter how great their wealth.

      They’ve chosen to adopt the attitudes and mannerisms commonly ascribed to Tories yet they’re wage earning manual workers from working class households.

      So to answer your “what am I?” question requires more information… for instance if you object to paying tax because it supports “bludger beneficiaries” you’ve opted to be in a different class than if you do not (regardless of whether or not you think the top rate is too high).

      At least that’s my thinking… which I’ve taken far too long to explain :-/

      • The Baron 5.2.1

        No I greatly appreciate you indulging me – and I wholeheartedly agree that it is more of a state of mind than an actual construct. To me, this makes the entire concept of “war” based on self-imposed mental construct even more of a useless concept – empty, useless, inflamatory rhetoric – and all too common from the authors on this site (particularly Eddie and Irish).

        So at risk of getting a ban for asking for particular content, may I ask one of the two more-common users of that term to tell us all what a class war looks like, and who the combatants are? And following that, what the justification was for this spaz of a post?

        • Rex Widerstrom 5.2.1.1

          I wouldn’t dare answer for them but, given you’ve accepted my premise, don’t you think there’s an ideological war going on? (Though I agree the term “war” is absurdly hyperbolic).

          As I see it, it’s a conflict (a better description I think) between “haves” (and many “want to haves” who think one day they might make it up the ladder and when they do, want to be assured they’ll have the opportunity to expectorate on those below because this is actually part of their motivation for advancement (cf Paula Bennett)) and “have nots”.

          Just as when the dividing line used to be easily drawn between classes in order to ascertain whose side someone was on, it can now be drawn between mindsets. And the distinguishing features are almost as readily apparent.

          Where once you could spot class by the wearing of a cloth cap. now it’s easily spotted (in Australia at least) by a ute adorned with “Fuck off we’re full” stickers.

          For many people it’s not that Maori and PI are brown that makes them so unworthy of consideration, it’s that they’re poor and have the wrong mindset. Just look at the people who’d probably have been called “racist” (wrongly so) who fawned over the likes of Ron Mark.

          So I’d argue it’s Irish and Eddie whose thinking and rhetoric is outdated (given it was Irish who questioned whether my view of class as overriding race as a determinant) but that the underlying precepts of their argument are, if anything, more true today than a generation ago.

          Because a generation ago we could believe that giving the poor better incomes would somehow uplift them to become better people. Now we know that human nature will out, and there’s no one so demeaning of the poorer classes than many a former member thereof.

          The “war” now is for not just the minds but the character of people, and I’d argue it’s one that’s being lost by those whose values encompass anything beyond personal self-advancement (not that I’m knocking that as part of one’s character).

          • IrishBill 5.2.1.1.1

            About a generation ago (if a generation can be considered 26 years) the last thing we decided was that the poor should get better incomes.

            In fact about a generation ago we decided that the poor should be exposed to the rigours of a Darwinian free market. Both wages and benefits have stagnated since 1984.

            I’ve never said that class overrides race as a determinant. I’ve said that mistaking social liberalism (which is a good thing) as the only determinant of “left wing” is a surefire way to let the right win – after all it was the same labour government that passed homosexual law reform that sold off all of our assets.

            • Rex Widerstrom 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Sheesh I’m getting old… I guess 1984 is a generation ago, considering all but one of my children were born subsequent to that date.

              Ahh I see what you mean now re the race / social liberalism factor. You’re right about that.

        • loota 5.2.1.2

          Well I suggest starting from the classic bourgeoisie, petit bourgeoisie, proletariat, and lumpen proletariat categories. And yes because there is hope for class mobility some of these constructs are now in the mind more than in physical reality.

          More practically, a lot of these changes are being led and supported by one distinct class of person: those with $1+M net worth (or aspirations of such), and no moral compunction or hesitations over how to get it/get more of it.

          In other words, those few with business capital, lots of it, against those many with personal debt, lots of it.

          Climbing up the ladder on the broken bodies of those who work for you? No problem.

      • BLiP 5.2.2

        “Cashed-up bogans”, “aspirationals” and “rich pricks” are all synonyms for those who came up the hard way and, now that they’ve “made it”, say “fuck you” to every one else. The National Ltdâ„¢ puppeteers reserve the positions of social welfare, education, health, and PM especially for these people so that their “inner arsehole” be given full reign over the lives of the most vulnerable.

        The class war will be fought between those who care about everyone and those who care only about themselves. I fear the battle has already been lost. This call to arms in the class war is too little too late.

        • The Baron 5.2.2.1

          What are you on about?

          A call to arms doesn’t work when you can’t tell anyone who you’re calling.

          • BLiP 5.2.2.1.1

            Never mind, Baron, you’re twenty years too late. People like you getting their panties in a knot seeking to distract others from the issues by jumping up and down and squealing at the sidelines were never going to be part of the solution. The only light relief is the irony in the fact that it was a Labour government which sowed the seeds now being reaped by John Key at the behest of his off-shore, unaccountable, and rapacious corporate mates. Enjoy.

            • The Baron 5.2.2.1.1.1

              Don’t worry BLiP – I do plenty of caring. I don’t begrudge my taxes.

              What I do begrudge is people like you who appear to think that upholding YOUR values is predominantly MY responsibility. What are you doing to ensure that you uphold your end of the bargain, apart from whinging about how unfair it is that your share ain’t larger?

              Why is it only the “rich” that seem to be responsible for delivering your fair society? When are you going to make a contribution to the greater good too?

              • BLiP

                Its not your values or my values, its all of our values and at the moment New Zealand’s values are being sold down the river by that money changer John Key shilling outside the temple of Mammon. By all means, hand over your taxes but be aware National Ltdâ„¢ is the middleman between you and corporate interests working towards the creation of a larger underclass. When you take your grandchildren down to the shop for their very first cloth cap, be sure to teach them how to doff it appropriately won’t you.

                • comedy

                  I’m not sure that surreptitiously playing the ‘evil jew” card strengthens your argument.

                  [lprent: He didn’t – you did. It is one of my behaviors that I will ban for, and usually quite heavily.

                  Assigning a rationale to someone beyond the words that they express is one of the fastest ways to start a idiotic flamewar (as has happened here). Read what they write – don’t try to tell them what you think that they were saying. The latter usually tells more about the internal bigotry of the writer than anything else.

                  Consider yourself warned… ]

                  • felix

                    So stop doing it.

                    • comedy

                      No you stop doing it

                    • felix

                      BLiP called Key a money changer. You extrapolated from that and implied that BLiP only used that expression to bring up Key’s (occasional) Jewish heritage.

                      What you did there is commonly known as “playing the race card”. It means accusing someone else of racism where none is demonstrable.

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

                    • comedy

                      Bible lesson for you ……

                      Jesus began his ministry in Jerusalem by driving the corrupt moneychangers from the Temple. He also ended His ministry by attacking the same thieves. It was the only time that the Lord used force during his earthly life.

                      “And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:13-16).

                    • felix

                      I’m very aware of what you were referring to hs, but BLiP didn’t bring Key’s occasional Jewishness into it – you did.

                      BLiP was referring to Key’s money-changerness.

                      You know they’re not the same thing, right?

                    • comedy

                      Lprent and felix – don’t fucking tell me what I’m trying to do.

                      As soon as I read BLIPS comment I took it as a Jewish smear perhaps being a Jew myself I’m a bit sensitive, why don’t you let BLIP come back and say what he meant rather than running to his defence.

                      Apart from Irish Bill the double standards on this blog are fucking laughable. Does fuckwit Felix get a warning for accusing me of playing the race card ?

                    • felix

                      You did play it though hs – it’s right there in black and white.

                      (hint: the fact that you don’t know what the phrase means is irrelevant to the fact that you did it)

                    • comedy

                      Look fuckwad I’m not nor have ever been hs hers or theirs.

                      Are you BLIPs significant other that you feel you need to have their discussions for them.

                    • felix

                      hs – as I already told you on the other thread – I am your father.

                • BLiP

                  I have to say I’m surprised you haven’t ended up in The Standard’s version of gitmo and I am expecting a far higher standard from you in the future, okay doctor?

                  In the meantime, here’s a Bible lesson for you, Comedy. The fact that John Key spent a significant portion of his life changing-money and managed to amass a fortune without producing a single widget is well known among the informed, perhaps you’d like to get up to speed on that. The fact that I said he was outside the temple of Mammon would mean that, rather than being a Jew, he was a devil worshipper which, as an instrument of Evil by deliberately lying and conniving so as to bring suffering upon innocents, seems to me an apt description. Inflammatory rhetoric, perhaps, but everything I’ve learned about blogging I learned from the Right in the lead up to the last election. Don’t like it back up ya, do ya, punk?

          • Puddleglum 5.2.2.1.2

            Here we go – back to kindergarten.

            What class isn’t: how much money someone has/ how flash a job someone has/ how posh a suburb they live in/ how plummy their voices are/ how many and how large their TVs, cars, holiday homes, etc. etc. are.

            Adam Smith spoke of three elements in the capitalist system: Capitalists (the owners of ‘capital’ – much debated but, roughly, the means of production); Rentiers (those who rent out, typically but not now exclusively, land and such other capital (e.g., buildings, plant)); Labour (those who have only their labour to sell in the market). Marx agreed with Smith and, originally, collapsed it into two: Capitalists and the proletariat.

            Since then, many others (and Marx) added finer distinctions. They matter for finer grained analysis but not needed for current purposes.

            As Adam Smith pointed out, these three divvy up the cake between themselves (there’s no-one else in the capitalist economy). Hence, there’s inherent conflict of interest over shares in the output of the economy.

            Class War, if it means anything, means this inherent conflict between capital and labour. At the microlevel (the individual), sure, some people will own a tiny business while still working full time for someone else and might also have a rental property. The acid test as to which ‘class’ they occupy is what happens when one or other is removed from the equation. Take away the rental property? Does the person go to the wall fast? The business folds? Does hubby have to generate secondary income as a ‘rent boy’? (couldn’t resist it!). Take away the full time job? What then?

            Ownership of capital, in proportional terms, has concentrated over time. But – and this is what confuses so many people – in capitalist countries, incomes and possession of consumer goods has increased over time. This leads some to say “there’s no such thing as class anymore, everyone’s so much wealthier than their parents/grandparents”. Well, Adam Smith would turn in his grave at such slack thinking.

            Class is not about how much money/tradeable assets you have, it’s all about how your slice from the economy is composed – by capital; by labour; by rent (we could easily collapse rent and capital, as Marx did).

            At the human level it boils down to power and control. In a capitalist economy power is generated by ownership of the means used to reproduce capital. Labour’s only option (since, by definition, it doesn’t have state-protected ownership of the productive capacity of the economy) is to organise and act collectively. By contrast, capital must oppose such organisation or else risk a decrease in its ability to control and generate capital and hence increase its proportion of the economic pie.

            In essence, most of us are not capitalists (of any consequence): We rely too much on selling our own labour. It’s for that reason that most people tend to experience a life that they don’t feel they have much control (power) over.

            These proposed changes reduce the proportion of the production of the economy that will go to labour. That’s why they are part of ‘class war’.

            Did I actually have to explain all that???

            • The Baron 5.2.2.1.2.1

              Evidently you did – thanks for Marxism 101. Amazing you’re the only one who seems to know these apparent inaliable truths.

        • Rex Widerstrom 5.2.2.2

          The class war will be fought between those who care about everyone and those who care only about themselves.

          Damn you, BLiP. One fracking sentence to say what took me 12 paragraphs 😛

  6. Cnr Joe 6

    suck our blood – whilst we let them

  7. tsmithfield 7

    “2. Employers and workers have competing interests but as long as these are managed properly and minimum protections put in place this system can work. This is more akin to Labour thinking.”

    But Micky, there are still minimum protections in place. Just because the law has been changed in one aspect doesn’t mean all the other protections have suddenly vanished.

    • TS

      But Micky, there are still minimum protections in place. Just because the law has been changed in one aspect doesn’t mean all the other protections have suddenly vanished.

      One by one, TS, one by one …

    • The Voice of Reason 7.2

      Welcome aboard TS Air. You’ll note we have removed 3 of the engines and one of the wings. But don’t worry, some of the minimum protections are still in place. These include seat belts, (rows 4-9 only), and of course, your complimentary sick bag. Hope you enjoy your flight and happy landings!

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    How to Make an American Job Before It’s Too Late: Andy Grove

    Consider this passage by Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder: “The TV manufacturing industry really started here, and at one point employed many workers. But as TV sets became ‘just a commodity,’ their production moved offshore to locations with much lower wages. And nowadays the number of television sets manufactured in the U.S. is zero. A failure? No, a success.’

    I disagree. Not only did we lose an untold number of jobs, we broke the chain of experience that is so important in technological evolution. As happened with batteries, abandoning today’s “commodity’ manufacturing can lock you out of tomorrow’s emerging industry.

    Exactly the same thing has happened in NZ and because of this we are becoming poorer with a very few becoming massively richer.

    • The Baron 8.1

      And yet everyone owns a TV, and heaps of jobs have been created in countries like Korea because of it. Good, well paid jobs too, relative to the generation before them at least.

      Meanwhile, GDP per capita in the States is still streets ahead of theirs. Rather than keepin-on building TVs, they started companies like, um, Microsoft and Google.

      Where would you rather be? Idiot.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        And increasing millions more are unemployed and living on food stamps.

      • rainman 8.1.2

        Baron, it’s hardly true that “everyone owns a TV” – I’m sure the billions at the bottom of the income and wealth heap don’t have TV as their top priority. And GDP per capita is a flawed measure – for one thing it doesn’t tell us much about inequality. For another, it doesn’t deal with debt terribly well.

        Us humans aren’t so good at dealing with derivatives (the calculus kind, not the financial kind). How sure are you the good stuff created here (jobs in Korea etc) is being created at a faster rate than the destruction created by the bad things (corresponding loss of jobs and wealth etc)?

        • The Baron 8.1.2.1

          Oh of course – keeping the TV industry in the US would have helped all of those measures, right? Korean’s appear to have an advantage at making TVs at better quality and lower cost than americans – therefore, the net best thing to do is to let Koreans specialise in that, while Americans specialise in what they do well – evidently creating some of the world’s most amazing new technology companies. Its called comparative advantage, and ain’t that new or that outrageous a concept.

          The alternative you and Draco seem to be proposing is protected, national industries whereby all products are manufactured at home for the home market. Great for protecting jobs – but everyone is then poor with a crappy TV set. Then again, all socialists seem to have some inherent problem with trade.

          Honestly, you really think making your own TVs is your solution to world poverty? I stand beside my original call of IDIOT.

          • rainman 8.1.2.1.1

            Baron, you appear to have comprehension difficulties. I did not suggest making our own TV’s is a solution to world poverty. I simply called you on your sloppy argument.

            I do have problems with (free) trade but I suspect they are different to the ones you might assume I have. For one thing I don’t think all industries should be protected as you seem to think I do. And I am well aware of the theory of comparative advantage, but rather than take it as gospel/ideology I am disposed to considering its weaknesseses (there are a few), and its use in underpinning the free-trade argument. It ain’t 1815 anymore and the world is much more complex than your simple arguments recognise.

    • prism 8.2

      And we now have good skilled workpeople being denied the train building project because they do it better (and cheaper) overseas. We are sinking again into 19th century colonial enterprises and we won’t even have the nous to remember the skills and knowledge that they used then, which might be appropriate again as our world techology and climate changes.

      We should look to Scandinavia for ideas and vision to fire us up to be in the modern world. At present, as King John the Clueless has said, we compare ourselves to and copy the USA, Britain which are both leaning towards being authoritarian states, playing at the pretence of being democracies serving all citizens. The English speaking nations we copy are generally bigger than we are, yet we puff along behind adopting polcies that will not perform well for our small country.

      • loota 8.2.1

        In this instance, “doing it better and cheaper overseas” is highly subjective.

  9. michaeljsavage 9

    [Sorry – IrishBill gave you a week off — r0b]

    Key’s desperate spin

  10. coolas 10

    It does seem like class war: Us against Them

    Under current law an employer can contract an employee with a 90 day trial period if they wish. If the worker doesn’t sign they don’t get the job. If they’re not up to the job it’s not extended over 90 days.

    Making a 90 day period Law, invites abuse, as all rules do.

    That it’s not necessary means it’s a signal, or symbol perhaps, that NACT are the coalition of the Capital, the Wealth, the Power.

    Marx identified the struggle between Capital & Labour as an ongoing tussle. His prediction of the outcome was sorely amiss, but perhaps Workers fair share of the fruits of their Labour is yet to come. What Marx missed was the power of fascism.

    I think the Key Government is fascist.

    ‘Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach.’ (Oxford on the Mac)

    Scary thing is: when times are tough people are attracted to the fascists. We are attracted to very thing that takes away our freedom.

    John Key is playing a very dangerous game. And sadly, for the rest of us, that’s probably all it is to him. He’s a gambler after all.

    • Ari 10.1

      No, Marx was right, within the stipulations he made. Labour will win against capital eventually in a world where resources are plentiful compared to the population. The last part is the stumbling block- because anyone can’t just go and make their own capital goods from fresh resources without paying for them, the competition between capital owners naturally becomes stagnant, allowing them far more influence over the long term than Marx would have predicted.

      • Tiger Mountain 10.1.1

        Plus Capitalism has built in survival mechanisms-‘state forces’ army and police for direct enforcement and control of the population along with a ‘superstructure’ including capitalist owned mass media, and education and religious systems for ideological control.

    • Descendant Of Smith 10.2

      Also the right know that language is a powerful weapon and they should not in any way dictate the language that is used or permissible.

      There is in my eyes a working class war – a war between the working class and the interests of big business. It doesn’t matter to me how the right wish to define it because they are not the victims in all this – it suits them to try and dis-empower through using their language.

      This war is being waged from a right who show little compassion for their fellow man – a right who call beneficiaries bludgers, who see the less skilled and motivated as flotsam, who years ago changed staff and people to human resources and see people as that, who call DPB’s slappers and so on.

      There are people dying from low wages and ill health and poor housing in this country with much of it driven by poor wages, an economy based on smoke and mirrors and the disappearance of jobs at the whim of the employer.

      As the farmers celebrate their high prices people overseas starve cause the price of food is pushed higher and higher.

      Those who tout America as the icon of financial success are blind to the fact their wealth was built on the back of slavery, they forget that they ignored copyright laws for years to build their publishing companies, they don’t want to see the appalling conditions that many of their people live and work in, their lack of health care, the disproportionate wealth distribution, their high imprisonment rates – blinkers are a great thing on a racehorse when you only need to see one thing – they are not any good when you want to see what is around you.

      I’ll use whatever language I like to describe what I see is happening – I don’t have to define it in a way you are comfortable with.

  11. just saying 11

    Don’t forget how the right has turned us all into “consumers” and “providers of goods and services”.

    And what is the most salient and relevant feature of a consumer?

    -How much money they s/he has to spend.

  12. Jenny 12

    How people view things is often dependent on their class position.

    For instance the New Zealand Herald has been very fulsome in their praise of income tax cuts that went mostly to business and the wealthy.

    But a tax cut that would benefit the less well paid is the living end for ‘The Herald’.

    Flat taxes like GST, that push the tax burden away from the rich onto the rest of us, is an example of “class war”.

    For example, according to The New Zealand Herald the “proposal” to remove GST from healthy food is “Unhealthy for (the) tax base”.

    Yet ‘The Herald’ never worried about the “health” of the tax base when National implemented a $billion dollar tax cut that went mostly to those in upper income brackets, [like Herald editorial writers].

    Herald Editorial: GST proposal unhealthy for tax base

    Whether ‘The Herald’ consciously recognises it, or not, in this editorial the Herald is declaring class war by supporting flat or regressive taxation over progressive taxation.

    • loota 12.1

      Its class war alright, those who have millions in net worth (or aspire to that status) and want more return upon those monies at any societal, environmental and economic cost versus…well, everyone else.

      The NZH needs to be exposed for what it is.

      I suggest a new online publication which mercilessly pillories each and everyone of the Herald’s NACT slanted editorials and corporatist frontpage headlines.

      Maybe by the name of “The New Zealand Herring”

      It should also do its darndest to steal advertising dollars away from the Herald. Give them the finger in a language that the media barons really understand.

    • prism 12.2

      The tax return to the people should have been to the people implementing the first steps of the climate change influenced policies. That would have been a smart thing to do, and would have gone mainly to the wealthy and landed class, and would have advanced NZ’s interest.

      But no the dumb NACTS don’t have any effective pointy-headed ideas like that. They wanted to start off with a big pay off hiss and roar to ‘their’ people. I’ve just remembered how John Banks became Minister of Sport at a time of tight budgets and immediately presented his sports crowd with money on a plate. It’s like honesty amongst thieves when they recompense their supporters as promised.

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