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Wave goodbye to another 200 jobs

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, February 1st, 2013 - 78 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

While National continues to deny there’s a manufacturing crisis and the main opposition wastes its time plotting clever procedural tricks the high dollar claims another 200 Kiwi jobs – this time as Summit Woolspinners closes in Oamaru.

The really depressing prospect is that this is the tip of the iceberg. For every closure that attracts media attention because it’s big and on a unionised site there are dozens of smaller non-union redundacies that never make the papers – I suspect many of them don’t even make official stats.

This is simply untenable. Manufacturing provides at least a couple of hundred thousand decently paid jobs in New Zealand. Without it we’re looking at a future of Dairy and Tourism, the former not know for producing a lot of jobs the latter not known for paying very much for most of the many hospo and retail jobs it produces.

That’s not a New Zealand we should want.

78 comments on “Wave goodbye to another 200 jobs ”

  1. CV - Real Labour 1

    Just heard John Walley of the Manufacturers Association interviewed on National Radio. He made some good points – the Government is quite right in saying that manufacturers are going to perform differently depending on their location and their markets. But he pointed out that the high exchange rate and it’s volatility, tax regime and other macro-economic factors are equally as important. Germany he pointed out at accelerated tax depreciation schemes for manufacturing equipment, encouraging businesses to invest more in modern plant and machinery.

    The loss of the carpet/yarn manufacturer (and subsequently many other associate local engineering firms and contractors) will be a huge blow to Oamaru. It can always be seen as a one off local event. But each such event also damages the frail remaining industrial capability of this country.

    • tracey 1.1

      this govt doesnt like to talk about germany… with their 7 weeks annual leave and strong unions and economy

    • Rogue Trooper 1.2

      govt might stick to it’s knitting, you know, knit one, pearl one, yet they keep dropping stitches; takes a long time to roll a rats tail out when we can see through the centre of the reel

  2. BM 2

    So the answer is print money, devalue our dollar to “save the manufacturers”.
    I guess everyone else can just take it up the arse and smile as the price of everything sky rockets.
    You want to see people on the streets baying for blood, that’ll do it.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      So we should continue to pay less than what the items cost?

      • bad12 2.1.1

        i think the second line of that ones comment says it all, that’s obviously what that particular wing-nut does whenever times get tough, that He expects every one else to follow suit is laughable…

    • tracey 2.2

      arent the UK and USA printing money?

      • bad12 2.2.1

        Aha, along with the Japanese and quite a few other economies that are not broadcasting the fact widely,

        The incoming National Government of 2008 were advised in an interim report from the IMF to seriously consider doing just that, print money to cover the Government shortfall in revenue brought about by the Global financial crisis…

      • Shane Gallagher 2.2.2

        Practically every nation in the OECD is doing it. Including Switzerland which is doing it exclusively to stop speculation on its currency and to drive the value down. It is also one of the biggest industrial manufacturers in the world. They never lost sight of the fact that if you want a viable economy you will not do it with banks – you have to MAKE THINGS and be able to sell them.

        • CV - Real Labour 2.2.2.1

          They did it with banks too…best of both worlds those clever neutral we have automatic weapons in every household swiss.

    • fatty 2.3

      I guess everyone else can just take it up the arse and smile as the price of everything sky rockets.

      Whah, whah… I’m getting sick of this crying from the greedy about inflation from printing money.
      The real tragedy is BM, that for a large percentage of the population, inflation would improve their economic situation. I’m talking about Gen X & Y who have already been shafted with this scam called student loans.
      Most Gen X & Y are so screwed by our economic ideology that sky rocketing prices would reduce the time it would take to get out of their financial slavery.

      Bring on the hyper-inflation…me and my mates want a fair shot at life…we also wanna laugh at those greedy immoral pricks who sit on resources and force others into poverty as they have excessive money in their accounts. Seeing their wealth dissolve into nothing would make my day.

      You want to see people on the streets baying for blood, that’ll do it.

      lol

      • Andre 2.3.1

        And the government LIE to us http://t.co/ZUNWoKYj there policys are not working.

      • Chris 2.3.2

        Yes I am sure the rich will just leave all their money in NZD when hyperinflation starts occuring.

        I love how an interest free loan that anyone can get is now a huge scam.

        • fatty 2.3.2.1

          Yes I am sure the rich will just leave all their money in NZD when hyperinflation starts occuring.

          True, they could do that. Wouldn’t bother me, my problem would still be solved.

          I love how an interest free loan that anyone can get is now a huge scam.

          Sad you think like that.
          It was only a few decades ago that NZ could afford to put this ignorant leech through uni…twice…in two different cities.

        • Colonial Viper 2.3.2.2

          Yes I am sure the rich will just leave all their money in NZD when hyperinflation starts occuring.

          Why would there be hyperinflation if investment was made in high quality economic infrastructure, and in increasing productive and competitive capacity in the economy?

    • CV - Real Labour 2.4

      BM, I guess our wealthy will be pissed off that their NZD doesn’t buy as much when they go shopping in Harrods.

      • tracey 2.4.1

        or Hawaii… no wait, buying in Hawaii has never been better

      • BM 2.4.2

        No I’m thinking of all the struggling families that the left are supposed to support.
        How do you think they’re going to react when all their household bills sky rocket, most are barely surviving at the moment.

        As for the wealthy, they’ll make a shit load of coin because they”d have moved all their money off shore into other currencies.
        While every one else is going broke they’ll be able to buy everything up at pennies on the dollar because they’re the only ones who have money that’s worth anything.

        .

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.5

      The real issue is the US dollar is dropping like a stone.

      Currency stability is one of the governments jobs… or is going to Antarctica much much more important

  3. bad12 3

    The stark tragedy of 30 years of Neo-Liberal deregulation is again visited upon us all with the closing of Summit Woolspinners,

    Listening to someone on RadioNZ National talking about this closure with an air of optimism saying that many of these workers will get jobs elsewhere can hardly lift such an air of gloom as that job elsewhere is likely to be in Australia and should those who lose there employment at the wool-spinning plant get jobs here in New Zealand it still does nothing to help the overall economic situation as another 200 employment positions disappear from the New Zealand economy,

    The fallout of course, mostly unseen by us all and unreported by the media as the ‘big’ story of the day dies down and is soon forgotten is that the destruction of this mass block of employment from within the small local Oamaru economy will have repercussions that in the next 18 months will see another 200 jobs slowly disappear from that economy as the small firms from plumbers to the pie shop will now suffer a loss of business due to the closure of that plant,

    The demise of this particular industrial plant along with the employment it generated had it’s seeds sown 30 years ago as the system of tariffs that wiser politicians than seem to exist today had built up over generations as this country was constructed as one of the greatest little countries in the world was destroyed,

    The historical context of this present day closure of industrial plant is easy to be seen and that part of the solution to such closure of industry is thus staring us in the face, as we destroyed we only need rebuild, re-visiting all the supposed agreements of free trade and consigning them to the dustbin of history would be a first point for any Government that actually gave a s**t,

    Today’s context as far as Government action/inaction goes began at the point of the election of this Slippery lead National Government in 2008, this Government had a stark choice that is and will have repercussions for our economy and us as people for generations to come,

    Faced with a revenue shortfall brought about by the Global Financial Crisis the new National Government had the choice of either borrowing into the economy 300 million dollars or printing into the economy that 300 million dollars,

    Ignoring the advice of the IMF this National government chose of course the wrong option and began borrowing 300 million dollars a week claiming that it would again have the Governments books showing a surplus in a couple of years,

    Had the present Government instead taken the IMF advice and printed that 300 million dollars into the economy we as a country would have zero Government debt, a mountain which now sits at 42 billion and growing, and, the printing into the economy of that 300 million dollars a year would have diluted and thus lowered the value of the New Zealand dollar which is at historic highs simply because the US economy is being propped up by printed monies which have devalued that US dollar leaving our dollar high and dry…

    • Afewknowthetruth 3.1

      We are witnessing the Reversal of the Industrial Revolution.

      Whereas the Industrial Revolution took around 200 years to spread around the world, the Reversal of the Industrial Revolution is unlikely to take more than another 10 years.

      Most of the developed world is bankrupt and is printing money to pay for imports from China via the bond market. And the bond market is getting the jitters. Nothing like ‘triple dip’ recession to take away confidence. Except ‘quadruple dip’,of course.

      And China is choking itself to death.

      • bad12 3.1.1

        Aha, a bloke called Trotsky saw it coming way back in the early part of last century, Trotsky pointed out then even befor the phrase Neo-Liberalism was coined that unfettered capitalism was doomed to failure and that this would occur within a series of collapses where each of the series would occur from within a tighter time-frame and that the severity of each collapse would be of greater magnitude than the last and that the sum total of the losses within these collapses would as the destruction occurred begin to numerically over-power the sum total of the gains made during the periods of increasingly shorter recovery,

        Our mate Leon seems to have been right on the money if you look at the world economy from the time of the first ‘oil shock’ in the 70’s,

        Interestingly Trotsky in one obscure pamphlet said that while the system of production used by that capitalist system was in fact the more efficient it was the profits of capitalism that needed be continually seized and redistributed to the lowest level of economy so as to ensure the actual survival of capitalism itself,

        Easy to see where He and Lenin departed company and poor old Leon got an ice-pick what made His ears burn instead of the hoped for gold-watch as the symbol of retirement…

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    With the global economy slowly going kaput, to imagine there will be much of tourism sector (any?) 5 years from now is delusional..

    Much depends on how quickly we slide down Hubbert’s Peak Oil curve. I see that oil is trading around $115 a barrel, despite the demand destruction that has taken place throughout much of the developed world

    Of course, fracking and deep-sea drilling will create new employment opportunities for those who are prepared to completely bugger the environment for the sake of keeping the industrial-military-financial complex going a little longer.

    • Colonial Weka 4.1

      It’s also hard to see Industrial Dairy doing well as fossil fuel inputs becomes more expensive.

      The other long term worry with manufacturing is the loss of infrastructure. What is happening to these factories when the businesses shut down? Will we be able to get them up and running again when the need to relocalise the economy becomes imperative?

      • CV - Real Labour 4.1.1

        Will we be able to get them up and running again when the need to relocalise the economy becomes imperative?

        It’ll be very difficult; a lot of the expertise in how to run those processes and machines will have retired or moved overseas. Once institutional knowledge which has been built up over decades is dispersed its neigh on impossible to bring back in a hurry, but will instead have to be built again from the ground up.

      • Afewknowthetruth 4.1.2

        The industrialise dairy sector has no long term future because it is totally dependent on fossil fuels.

        In addition, the dairy sector is totally dependent on imported fertilisers, especially phosphate rock, which is at or very near global extraction pea, and is dependent on fossil fuels for extraction and transport.

        Everything in the industrial economy is buggered long term.

        And that before we even mention the on-going climate chaos, which gets worse every year. .

      • bad12 4.1.3

        The norm is that the machinery of production will be sold off to another economy, where this fails to happen then it’s destination is the scrap dealers yard,(where it will be sold off to some other economy),

        Much of what remains will also be picked clean by the ‘scrappies’ both legal and illegal, such was the fate of the New Zealand car assembly plants where much of the infrastructure was stripped out and shipped off to the asian economies as a going concern,

        Wider out in the economy industries such as Pilkington glass which manufactured the glass requirements for these assembly lines closed along with those that put together the electric wiring circuits used in cars,

        But hey, we all got to drive cheap imports right, thats a myth as well, as kids, 16,17, 18 years old we were buying 300 dollar used holdens, valiants, fords, etc just as young people on a restricted budget do today…

        • tracey 4.1.3.1

          it’s OK cos Joyce has got some baby engineers heading to university… we can use them in about 10 years after their training and their overseas experience.

        • CV - Real Labour 4.1.3.2

          Once those pot lines out at Bluff shut down, that’s it they’re fucked, there is no turning them back on again.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    Crisis–what crisis? does National still want to keep New Zealand going as an economic entity that generates taxes for a social wage and basic standard of living…

    It appears not really, and they have only got away with it due to the massive Aussie escape valve (“NZ wages have caught up with Australian wages, but only for those kiwis over there” goes the sardonic rejoinder).

    Torys always stand for maximum transfer of wealth to the wealthy and a bit to the small beer aspirational types. By overseeing the destruction of manufacturing and forestry, opening up to yet more direct foreign investment and land sales they really have staked their position as comprador capitalists.

  6. tracey 6

    “The Ministry of Education still owes teachers and school support staff nearly $12 million in non-payments or underpayments due to the flawed Novopay pay roll system, according to information revealed under the Official Information Act.

    The information showed that as part of pay cycle 21, dated January 9, school staff were still waiting to be properly paid by the ministry after assurances problems would be patched up by Christmas.”

    They are constantly pilloried (teachers) and have a damned hard job, any other sector not paid by their employer tot his extent would just keep quiet? Yea Right?

    The diplomats were going to be cut but no, a quick about turn…

    Perata MUST resign. This is an appalling indictment and she is, ultimately, the employer of these folks.

  7. fenderviper 7

    Carpet is no longer “trendy” with designers these days sadly. It gets overlooked as flooring in the quest for the clean “minimalist” look of timber and fake timber click together flooring, and with the increasing use of underfloor heating these cold surfaces don’t need to be. Trends and fashions are constantly changing but by the time carpet is fashionable again making it here will be yet another skill we will have lost.
    Apparently many overlook wool and go for nylon carpet, probably a reflection of our throwaway short-sighted consumer habits. Give me wool any day thanks, and give me a Government that protects and cares for our manufacturers.
    Most designers are just followers, but when my kids were learning to walk carpet was far more appropriate, and in winter it can’t be beaten.

    • Rob 7.1

      Yep, I agrre Fender. Its interesting that a major carpet reatiler is now selling 90% synthetic / 10% wool now. This stuff, all imported is mainly recycled PET so it carries a strong marketing green message. Its not an easy scenario and its very sad.

    • infused 7.2

      Well probably because the synthetic stuff lasts a lot longer and is cheaper.

  8. bad12 8

    I listened to a quote from the National Government MP that has Oamaru included within it’s boundaries and according to this obscurity She is only surprised that the wool spinning plant stayed open for as long as it did,

    Translation, f**k that old dinosaur has finally fallen, it should have closed 10 years ago,

    The obscurity that is the National Government MP for Oamaru went on to say it’s all roses as such a trained workforce will have no problems finding another job in the town,

    Translation, as a National MP i don’t give a big fat one if they find a job or not and neither do i have a clue or care that there will be further job losses as a result of the wool spinning plant’s closure and it’s Bill as Minister of Finance who cares or not that the overall number of jobs in the NZ economy has just shrunk by another 200 and i know Bill doesn’t,

    Paula who’s job it is to now care will happily sign the just sacked workers onto the dole but my advice to them is to f**k off to Ozzy while they still have some coin left because if Paula catches them over-staying their welcome by malingering on the dole She will simply kick them off of it as Bill says the important thing is that the budget gets balanced and it’s those dole bludgers who are holding us back from achieving that…

  9. xtasy 9

    Hah, no problem!

    Just export more live cows to China, that will balance the books!

    One ship just left Timaru bound for there.

    Send Kiwi farm workers and milkers over there too, to show them how the work is done properly.

    Then sell NZ land and real estate slice by slice, block by block, and the money will flow in.

    Invest in currencies and credit default future options, and you will be “sweet”, just like me.

    Make sure though you get a spot to build your little mansion on a place off-shore, to cover your risks. I am all set for a neat retirement on Hawaii, sipping on cocktails and beers for the rest of my days, also chatting with mates from Hollywood by the barbeque.

    Have a great new year in 2013

    Hone aka “John” Keypone

  10. georgecom 10

    I think fairness dictates that the comment about Labour wasting time with speaker side shows is strongly tempered with a statement that the party is actually doing quite a lot to highlight the issue of loss of manufacturing, unemployment and looking for solutions. It is the other major party that is stuck in sideshows and wringing its hands in anguish whilst actually doing nothing, apart from raising excuses.

    There is only so much a government can do. There are factors beyond NZ government influence. But, there are things the government can do and can investigate. It seems quite clear that we will have to wait for a change of government for this to come about.

    • CV - Real Labour 10.1

      There is only so much a government can do. There are factors beyond NZ government influence.

      I know, let’s sign up to the TPP and limit this even further!

  11. Tom 11

    OK , i don’t think anyone is happy about the loss of jobs , but reading the commentary i hear nothing about a solution ! Please feel free to offer solutions , i am continually disappointed with the left – no solutions

    • RedLogix 11.1

      Tom,

      Fair point that this post or thread doesn’t go into the solution side. But certainly over the years this site alone has detailed and debated many, many ideas around how socialism builds the capacity of a society to solve it’s problems.

      The fundamental premise of socialism is that all human endeavour is built upon collective effort. No man or woman will thrive in isolation. And while all people are naturally and rightly different, nonetheless however brilliant, talented, skilled or hard-working a person is …. all of that would count for nothing unless they are living in a functioning society.

      It is a subtle paradox that in order for the individual to be truly free to achieve the best they can; they must submit a portion of their liberty to the collective norms and needs of the society around them. The two are mutually interdependent on each other.

      Once upon a time liberals and conservatives more or less agreed on this; they just differed on the details. But over the last 30 years we have seen a corrosive neo-liberal agenda breakdown this moral social contract, enabling a very tiny minority accumulate immense wealth and privilege at the expense of everyone else. We maintain this is degenerate, immoral and ultimately unstable.

      The solutions we offer essentially look to establish a more even balance between the three main actors in any society; the state, the community and the individual. Get that right and most other problems become much easier to solve.

      • CV - Real Labour 11.1.1

        Darn it RL you always make me look like the hard line lefty 😉

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2

        The solutions we offer essentially look to establish a more even balance between the three main actors in any society; the state, the community and the individual. Get that right and most other problems become much easier to solve.

        And within the limits set by the environment which automatically means the removal of capitalism due to capitalism’s need for perpetual growth.

        • RedLogix 11.1.2.1

          Underlying that is a really interesting question DtB. While I agree with you 100% it does seem that something about how humans are wired means we struggle with properly accounting for the external environmental costs of our activity.

          For all of our evolution the natural world was simply ‘there to exploit’. As hunter-gatherers with a very low population density there was always effectively unlimited food and resources to use. However when we adopted agriculture and technology we immensely intensified our resource consumption so that now we’re now well within sight of the limits of the planet’s resources.

          Within that evolutionary model, the permanent need to limit our growth and resource use is a wholly new phase of our existence. (Sure we’ve experienced many short-term resource restrictions at a local or regional level, but over 4 million years the overall story has been unrestrained growth.)

          My question is this. Are we as a species capable of adapting permanently to limited resources? I’ve long held that ‘human nature’ is not a fixed thing, that social constructs are remarkably powerful at modifying our behaviour. There indeed some examples of societies (the Arctic Inuit are the one example who leap to mind) who have made this adaptation so I believe it is possible. And yet at the same time we have a very clear set of evolutionary preferences, and whenever we transgress them we pay a price in one form or another.

          But am I just being hopelessly optimistic? I know Robert Atack and AFKTT would disagree with me. The fate of all such low-growth, sustainable and less aggressive societies has usually been to be colonised or wiped out by more aggressive ones. Therefore in order for such a solution to stable globally it would have to be institutionalised globally as well.

          • CV - Real Labour 11.1.2.1.1

            For all of our evolution the natural world was simply ‘there to exploit’. As hunter-gatherers with a very low population density there was always effectively unlimited food and resources to use.

            Yet many such hunter-gatherer cultures developed philosophies and ways of living in harmony and respect with their environment, as you point out later.

            The fate of all such low-growth, sustainable and less aggressive societies has usually been to be colonised or wiped out by more aggressive ones.

            Indeed. More aggressive ones like the Achaemenid? The Roman? The Mongol? The Spanish? The British? The American? One should then look at how long lasting those aggressively resource consuming empires lasted…

            • RedLogix 11.1.2.1.1.1

              I agree it appears that probably most pre-agricultural societies were essentially sustainable, ecologically harmonious…. perhaps more as a result of simple evolutionary pressure than the result of conscious choices.

              If your tribe essentially depends on being nomadic, to be able to move whenever you’ve reached the local limit of resources … then there is strong evolutionary pressure against tribes that grow beyond a certain size (probably somewhere between 100 – 200 individuals) which would make the nomadic strategy less effective. After all if there were 10,000 of you, then you’d use up resources in any one location very quickly and you’d be moving so often that the costs would start to exceed the gains.

              But of course agriculture with all it’s concomittent aspects such as property, hierarchy, power and hegemony changed all of this on it’s head, rewarding the aggressive aggregators and punishing the sustainable nomadics. But having reached the limits of growth, having become the first post-evolutionary species on Earth… what’s next?

              Extinction? Retreat to the Stone Age? A brutal Dark Age? The eco-technic dream? Or something else. Because this time we have to make a choice.

              • CV - Real Labour

                Because this time we have to make a choice.

                Indeed. The next question is – who are the decision makers who have the authority to make these choices, how do you get them into the same room to discuss the hard issues, and then to make (and sell) the needed calls.

                As you know, Greer suggests that it will be far easier to have this discussion on the personal and community level.

                • RedLogix

                  One of Greer’s latest essays detailed Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” paper:

                  http://www.garretthardinsociety.org/articles/art_tragedy_of_the_commons.html

                  Worth a read in this context.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  who are the decision makers who have the authority to make these choices,

                  Us, everyone.

                  how do you get them into the same room to discuss the hard issues

                  Difficult but not impossible. The internet will help as it allows information to be easily propagated as well as helping discussion. The problem is that disinformation is also propagated as we see with Climate Change Denialism.

                  and then to make (and sell) the needed calls.

                  We can vote online. I know you don’t like that idea but there really is no other way to get effective democracy.

                  • CV - Real Labour

                    It’s the same problem that I say that Jenny has. Few people are going to vote for greatly decreasing their short term creature comforts, income and transportation, even if it will be very helpful to them and their children on a 25 year timeframe.

                    • Jenny

                      Yet Churchill promised the people of Britain nothing but blood sweat and tears and then delivered on it. Yet was re-elected as Prime Minister. And all polls since have counted Churchill as the greatest Britain of all time.

                      I might also mention that other notorious tory, Roger Douglas. Douglas told everyone particularly Labour voters that the country needed to tighten it’s belts for the good of all. And in 1987 working people gave him the benefit of the doubt and returned Labour with a hugely unprecedented landslide. It took another three years before voters realised they had been had.

                      The right put up uncomfortable and unpopular policies all the time and it doesn’t seem to hurt their support.

                      Look at the asset sales for instance. Wildly unpopular, all polls show the vast majority of the population to be opposed. Yet the Nats vote still holds up.

                      What you are ignoring CV is the power of leadership. Good, or bad. It can make a qualitative difference.

                      You get a mainstream leader of one of the big parities to really start tub thumping about the deadly threat that climate change poses. You get the Green Party to reverse their so called “pragmatic” strategy to down play climate change and instead really start campaigning on it.

                    • Jenny

                      The Green Party need to stop patronising the public and start telling it like it is. They might be pleasantly surprised in how many people will listen to them. People can sense when they are being patronised. The Greens in saying that the public wouldn’t understand about climate change are really saying, we are better than you, you are not as clever as us. You wouldn’t understand.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      FFS Churchill promised the English hardship and short rations as a better alternative to singing God Save the Queen in German.

                      What you are ignoring CV is the power of leadership. Good, or bad. It can make a qualitative difference.

                      Sure, leadership makes a big difference. Pray tell, who have you identified as NZ’s Churchill of Climate Change?

                      You get a mainstream leader of one of the big parities to really start tub thumping about the deadly threat that climate change poses. You get the Green Party to reverse their so called “pragmatic” strategy to down play climate change and instead really start campaigning on it.

                      Awesome. Why didn’t I think of this. BTW you forgot to get Winston to make all his House speeches from now on about the subject of AGW.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The Greens in saying that the public wouldn’t understand about climate change are really saying, we are better than you, you are not as clever as us. You wouldn’t understand.

                      Yeah, that must be why the Greens are sitting at near-record polling. Perhaps it’s vital that they take you on as a political advisor right now before they crash and burn.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I may be a bit of an optimist but I tend for the eco-technic dream. Living within the Earth’s limits while still reaching for the stars. Any other choice brings about that brutal Dark Age.

                The difficulty seems to be in getting everyone else to make the same choice especially considering that a lot of people seem determined to disbelieve reality.

                • RedLogix

                  But Hardin points out that the mere appeal to rationality and conscience is self-eliminating:

                  The long-term disadvantage of an appeal to conscience should be enough to condemn it; but has serious short-term disadvantages as well. If we ask a man who is exploiting a commons to desist “in the name of conscience,” what are we saying to him? What does he hear?–not only at the moment but also in the wee small hours of the night when, half asleep, he remembers not merely the words we used but also the nonverbal communication cues we gave him unawares? Sooner or later, consciously or subconsciously, he senses that he has received two communications, and that they are contradictory: (i) (intended communication) “If you don’t do as we ask, we will openly condemn you for not acting like a responsible citizen”; (ii) (the unintended communication) “If you do behave as we ask, we will secretly condemn you for a simpleton who can be shamed into standing aside while the rest of us exploit the commons.”

                  If we want the eco-technic dream we must not only be willing to choose it, we must be willing to impose it. Therein lies a can of worms.

                  • CV - Real Labour

                    That is exactly the problem.

                    But there is one more: at some stage, if we do not act positively now, a very serious climate crisis incident or energy crisis incident (or string of incidents), combined with peak debt, dictatorial circumstances will arise.

                    • RedLogix

                      Now while I’ve quoted Hardin because I think he makes a strong argument; I’d like to offer a counter thought.

                      What if there was indeed another possibility? Our entire modern social construct is about the accumulation and exercise of power. Everything political is an exercise in power in some degree or form. What if we turned this on it’s head? What if we re-constructed our society so that it was the exercise of service to others that became the prime motivation?

                      This is not as pollyanna-ish as it sounds. We already know that most people actually enjoy being helpful, doing good things for others. We know that humans have this capacity. What if we realised that we’d be enormously happier and better off if instead of constantly looking out for number one, we set that aside and looked after everyone else instead?

                      At that point I’d suggest that far from having to impose a sustainable, eco-technic dream … it would simply happen because everyone would want it. Which removes the perils of coercion.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Excellent observation RL. Check out this presentation by Dmitri Orlov on the “Gift Economy”.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P2zALEauSA

                      What he says is that in “olden times” collecting wealth was not particularly respected, it was what you did with that wealth and how trustworthy you were in your dealings with others, which was respected. And not just respected, but actually rewarded by the communities that you moved in. “A man’s word is his bond” kind of idea.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      What if we re-constructed our society so that it was the exercise of service to others that became the prime motivation?

                      Yep, we have to do that too. Change society from one where greed is good to one where it isn’t. It’s not going to happen over night but it can happen.

                    • RedLogix

                      CV,

                      Thanks; the Dmitri Orlov video takes a while to get through, but in his usual droll fashion he’s absolutely worth the time.

                      Nonetheless while I admire much of what he’s saying (and JMG who’s saying much the same things) … there’s still something missing. I’m not at all sure that the future is simply a re-run of the medieval era.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Who’s this “we”?

                    I’m talking about making the facts available to people and letting them make up their own minds. From what I can make out the majority of people really do want to save the environment but the government and business don’t as that will stop them making as much money.

    • CV - Real Labour 11.2

      You have to be fucking kidding me.

      Here’s a 5 point plan:

      1) R&D and capital investment tax breaks.
      2) KiwiBank to provide low interest development loans to high tech businesses and manufacturers.
      3) Buy NZ made policy.
      4) Capital restrictions and pegging of the NZ dollar to a basket of trading partner currencies.
      5) Incentives for greenfields manufacturing and high technology FDI.

      Shit for brains.

      • rosy 11.2.1

        6) And in economic matters a return to the 3-way compact between government, business and labour. Not this 2-way exclusion deal we have now between government and corporate interests.

      • McFlock 11.2.2

        A one point plan would be make 0-4% unemployment an objective of government and a reserve bank target alongside inflation.

        One byproduct of jobs growth is inflation that might peak above a few percent. But by having inflation as the sole requirement, any recovery is suffocated as soon as it emerges. According to RBA objectives, a morgue is the ideal economy – no inflation.

        • CV - Real Labour 11.2.2.1

          Having the government increase its control over the supply of money into the economy would help tamp down any resulting inflation – i.e. have the government issue more of the money into the economy as debt free cash, and have the banks issue less of the money into the economy as credit (loans) which they then charge interest on.

          A second step to controlling resulting inflation is to ensure that moneyflows are directed at building up productive and competitive businesses, not at asset price speculation/bubbles.

          A third step to keep inflation in check is for the government to get on the scene and become a major cost controlling provider of
          – Housing
          – Power
          – Internet

          These are all things that the top 80% of households spend a lot of money on month to month, and bringing their cost down significantly would offset inflationary pressures elsewhere.

  12. pdubyah 12

    Japanese owners

    sell to

    Australians

    that’s not the issue though, right?

    Is that we need one exchange rate for “manufacturing” and one for “Farming” and one for “Tourism”

    and a campaign to get people to buy more wool carpets?

    oh and it’s the tip of a rapidly melting iceberg if you’re being honest and it’s been melting for a long long long time

    • CV - Real Labour 12.1

      Thanks for your pointless, hopeless, actionless “analysis”. When we need you to run the country and do nothing, please expect a phone call.

      Is that we need one exchange rate for “manufacturing” and one for “Farming” and one for “Tourism”

      Wow, is the brains trust on strike here? Tourists hate our high NZ dollar. A lower dollar would make us a cheaper, and therefore far ore attractive, tourist destination. Manufacturers hate our high NZ dollar. It makes their products look expensive overseas and it makes it hard to compete against local manufacturers in other countries. Farmers hat the high NZ dollar. The majority of NZ ag/hort product is sold in US$ markets. But when you bring those US$ back to NZ, it converts into less NZD because of our high dollar.

      oh and it’s the tip of a rapidly melting iceberg if you’re being honest and it’s been melting for a long long long time

      30 years of neoliberal rule destroying our country’s industry, yeah we know.

      • pdubyah 12.1.1

        Didn’t actually realise that you’re clearly an economist, industrialist and in line for a shot at the Governor Reserve Bank should it become available. Kepp those big ideas coming, they’re all equally as actionable as your pie-in-the-skyy 5 point plan.

      • Rogue Trooper 12.1.2

        to be balanced Viper, approx 28 more cruise ships are to visit HB before the swallows migrate (and I am in favour of ships over airlines myself, sorta reminds me of Waterworld, though The Postman was superior; had TP in it)

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