web analytics

“We’re no longer citizens, we’re customers”

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, September 23rd, 2016 - 32 comments
Categories: capitalism, Economy, equality - Tags:

Ann Pettifor, in New Zealand for lectures on the state of the financial world, talks to Nine-to-Noon about its most pressing problems.

The UK economist was one of the few to predict the 2008 GFC, and now says our biggest problems stem from economists and the finance sector to ‘marketise’ society and to “turn us all into customers for everything”.

“We’re no longer citizens, we’re no longer workers, we’re customers, all along the line. And all of our relationships must, they argue, be marketised.

And:

[Those without assets] are getting poorer, because they cannot live on their existing income, because we don’t pay wages or salaries that allow people to live a decent life. So they have to supplement that, with all of these additional marginal activities.

“That’s what’s wrong with the way we have allowed the markets to take control of our economies and for the invisible hand to decide who gets what, is those who are left behind – and the left-behinders voted for Brexit, the left-behinders are voting for Trump, and they’re voting for Le Pen, the fascist in France – we need to worry about that.”

Worth a listen.

Mike Smith advertised Ms Pettifor’s Fabians lecture earlier this week – it may have a podcast on their site soon? (not yet…)  Policy Observatory have an interview with her up too.

32 comments on ““We’re no longer citizens, we’re customers” ”

  1. Ad 1

    We’ve had this descriptive language for interactions for over 30 years. Her observations aren’t new. It’s arguable that – while the ‘customer-service’ language is embedded – it’s nowhere near as strong as it used to be.

    I’m not even sure what good it would do if the old citizen-state interaction language was reinstated, other than to feel like the old implied contract was somehow back in the ether. When it isn’t.

    • Bill 1.1

      Think you’re missing the point Ad. She’s not just referring to language or terminology.

      Let’s go back a bit. Marx condemned the dehumanisation associated with the commodification of labour – ie, the notion that a person’s labour (time and activity) was just something to be bought and sold.

      For the past 30 years or so, we’ve had a creep of that commodification so that more and more human interactions are commodified (made subject to market rules).

      Today we might say we cultivate a culture whereby people are expected to pay top dollar for what we used to give for free. It’s rampant free market b/s, the logical end point of which would see every human interaction attracting a price.

      And people are forced to expand that culture of commodification because the older one – the one that began and ended with a person’s labour in relation to the job they had – just doesn’t come with enough compensation. So to stand still, (so the argument goes) people are desperately monetising just about anything they put their minds to or lay their hands on.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        Oh agreed.
        She’s just not fresh.

        • Paul 1.1.1.1

          Neo-liberalism is not fresh.
          It is rotten

          • save nz 1.1.1.1.1

            Yep the point is that a lot of people are saying the same things, but politicians are not listening. That is why we are having declining voting etc. If politicians do not listen to social cues then that is one reason why in particular the left wing politicians are not doing as well as they should. Or the left wing has become a right wing entity (Blairitism, Rogernomics) and so destroy trust and create disharmony of left ideas and ideals.

            Neoliberalism divides people and creates fear and inequality. Half the population are fearful and voting for it, the other half are mixed and a good percentage not voting mostly because some of the opposite message is the Neoliberal Lite message OR a 20th century socialist message that does not resonate to many.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Neoliberalism divides people and creates fear and inequality.

              Actually, that’s simply capitalism and other capitalist type socio-economic systems. Divide and rule as the saying goes.

      • Incognito 1.1.2

        As the saying goes “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product”.

        However, it seems to be that the boundary between customer and product has become more diffuse and you can simultaneously be customer and product. Maybe we should call it prodomer, which does not seem to be too far removed from the word “prodrome”, or custduct.

      • Adrian 1.1.3

        @Bill Exactly right in your analysis.
        One of our first steps is to demand of our media, that they stop referring to the citizens of the country as consumers.
        I also believe, the language of the media (all media) and how it frames and defines peoples view of the world and their place in it, is of vital importance.
        Constantly reinforce the image of a person in society as a mere consumer of goods and services, whose greatest achievement would be to find a way to exploit other consumers for capital gain, then by and large that is what you will get.
        Constantly frame and empower that same person as a citizen with valid views and perspectives on the direction and issues of their community, and that one of the greatest achievements they could undertake as a citizen is to participate in building a maintaining a healthy, fair, progressive community, and by and large you will get that result.

  2. TC 2

    Customers is generous, more like schmucks being sold on the illusion that you have a freedom of choice.

    Guardian has a piece on the lost generation based on a recent UK survey. Those without assets, the ability to procure any, living at home etc as the period they have come of age into is lacking the necessary opportunity, services, resources etc.

  3. ianmac 3

    Ann said that the marginalised are looking to the leadership of someone such as Jeremy Corbyn as a possible saviour for the hopeless position that they are in. She thought that if he was eliminated, then the marginalised would turn to the extreme left or extreme right. Trump/Le Pren.
    Meanwhile back here in sleepy old NZ…

  4. And when we work for the large companies, we are classified as “units” , not people.

    The world has gone mad alright.

  5. NZJester 5

    We are not customers, we are indentured servants or serfs.

  6. Takere 6

    As customers…. This National government just can’t stop giving things away that don’t belong to them … NZ’s Wealth & Soe’s & Crown debt (DMO off the books debt -$112bn) now is 54% owned by foreign Investors/Creditors.
    In the earlier part of the 2000’s foreign indebtedness was in the low 30’s. With a bit of off the books account courtesy of Blinglish Accounting Software there’s more!
    -$600bn of residential & rental property “land” values are not included in the inflation calculation either. NZs Nett (Debt) International Positions floating around -$163.3bn/65% of GDP.
    The gift to all kiwi’s from the National Government …. a debt laden future for generations to come ….

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      just write it off.

      • Takere 6.1.1

        Haha! It would be great if “We” did what Iceland did. In less than 5 years, they’re back. But I’m guessing. The owners of the debt would sell it to “Vulture Funds” who arrest , hold onto your assets like what happened to Argentina’s War Ship(s) that were ceased in the US when they were there until a payment was made. Maybe we could collectively put up the wealth of the 283 kiwis with more than $50m as security when it comes to that?

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          It’s just accounting, finally. Just find the right sort of accountant to sort it 🙂

  7. Andrea 7

    In its time ‘citizen’ was just as hollow and soothing as ‘consumer’ or ‘client’ or ‘customer’. No rights at all. Says so in the finest of fine print.

    Perhaps that anodyne label from the medical centres – ‘patient’?

  8. RedLogix 8

    Our relationship with the our rulers and overlords has always been unequal. Whether we called them our master, owner, lord, king, el-presidente … or these days CEO …. the power imbalance was always fraught.

    The notion of ‘equal before the law’ and ‘citizenship’ is in historic terms relatively new. We are still evolving the significance of this.

    Personally I think in another few generations our heritage concepts of leadership will morph into something that has far stronger connotations of ‘responsibility’ to the community. The drama and attraction of power will be replaced with an entirely different mode of leadership that is centred in the idea of service.

  9. keepcalmcarryon 9

    There is value to everything in the known universe.
    Capitialism says that value equals money in every instance yet clearly money is only one measure of value and not always relevant.
    a) Why do we allow the system to perpetuate?
    b) Please solve, showing all working.

    Sincerely
    NCEA

    • vto 9.1

      answer: throw the entire world up in the air, let people and things fall randomly where they fall, start again

  10. vto 10

    Do you think John Key would have any depth of understanding about these concepts??

    • vto 11.1

      as opposed to private ones such as

      pike river
      the entire finance sector
      stonewood homes
      mainzeal
      tranzrail

      shall we do some comparison lists?

      edit: btw, the NY Times wouldn’t be one of the biggest cogs in the US establishment would it? Conflicted much? sheeesh…

  11. mary_a 12

    The dirty neo lib game which began over 30 years ago, was specifically designed to depersonalize the citizenry into compliant consumer commodities, with the sole purpose of serving the wealthy elite of the land.

    Hopefully, Kiwis in particular will wake up soon and take to the streets in acts of civil disobedience and passive resistance, protesting against the manipulating, corrupt, greedy predators, which dominate our socio/economic structure, aided and abetted by crooked cesspit dwelling political vermin, disguised as the peoples’ representatives!

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      +1

    • Jono 12.2

      I think we will see civil unrest in our time. If inequality continues to divide this nation the people at the bottom will have nothing left to lose. They will fight back once they are pushed into a corner. It happened in France remember…

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Additional government support for Buller District flood recovery
    The Government is providing additional support to the Buller District Council to assist the recovery from the February 2022 floods, Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan announced today. “The Buller District has experienced two significant floods in short succession, resulting in significant impacts for the community and for Council to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Government investment boosts coastal shipping in Aotearoa
    New Zealand is a step closer to a more resilient, competitive, and sustainable coastal shipping sector following the selection of preferred suppliers for new and enhanced coastal shipping services, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today.  “Coastal shipping is a small but important part of the New Zealand freight system, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Speech on RM Reform to the Thomson Reuters Environmental Law and Policy Conference: 24 May 2022
    Tēnā koutou katoa It’s a pleasure to speak to you today on how we are tracking with the resource management reforms. It is timely, given that in last week’s Budget the Government announced significant funding to ensure an efficient transition to the future resource management system. There is broad consensus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Vision for Māori success in tertiary education takes another step
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis have welcomed the release of a paper from independent advisory group, Taumata Aronui, outlining the group’s vision for Māori success in the tertiary education system. “Manu Kōkiri – Māori Success and Tertiary Education: Towards a Comprehensive Vision – is the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Whānau Resilience focuses on wāhine and rangatahi
    The best way to have economic security in New Zealand is by investing in wāhine and our rangatahi says Minister for Māori Development. Budget 2022, is allocating $28.5 million over the next two years to strengthen whānau resilience through developing leadership within key cohorts of whānau leaders, wāhine and rangatahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Increase in funding secures future for Whānau Ora
    Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies will receive $166.5 million over four years to help whānau maintain and build their resilience as Aotearoa moves forward from COVID-19, Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare announced today. “Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies and partners will remain a key feature of the Government’s support for whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Govt invests in sustainable food producer
    The development of sustainable, plant-based foods and meat alternatives is getting new government backing, with investment from a dedicated regional economic development fund. “The investment in Sustainable Foods Ltd  is part of a wider government strategy to develop a low-emissions, highly-skilled economy that responds to global demands,” said Stuart Nash. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand to stay at Orange for now
    With New Zealand expecting to see Omicron cases rise during the winter, the Orange setting remains appropriate for managing this stage of the outbreak, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “While daily cases numbers have flattened nationally, they are again beginning to increase in the Northern region and hospitalisation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Independent panel appointed to review electoral law
    Justice Minister Kris Faafoi today announced appointments to the independent panel that will lead a review of New Zealand’s electoral law. “This panel, appointed by an independent panel of experts, aim to make election rules clearer and fairer, to build more trust in the system and better support people to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Board appointed for Auckland’s most transformational project
    Honourable Dame Fran Wilde will lead the board overseeing the design and construction of Auckland’s largest, most transformational project of a generation – Auckland Light Rail, which will connect hundreds of thousands of people across the city, Minister of Transport Michael Wood announced today. “Auckland Light Rail is New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government continues record Māori Education investment
    Boost to Māori Medium property that will improve and redevelop kura, purchase land and build new facilities Scholarships and mentoring to grow and expand the Māori teaching workforce Funding to continue to grow the Māori language The Government’s commitment to the growth and development of te reo Māori has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • PM attends Indo-Pacific Economic Framework talks ahead of US travel
    On the eve of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s trade mission to the United States, New Zealand has joined with partner governments from across the Indo-Pacific region to begin the next phase of discussions towards an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). The Framework, initially proposed by US President Biden in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ to provide additional deployment to support Ukraine
    As part of New Zealand’s ongoing response to the war in Ukraine, New Zealand is providing further support and personnel to assist Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “We have been clear throughout Russia’s assault on Ukraine, that such a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Stubbing out tobacco smuggling
    Budget 2022 is providing investment to crackdown on tobacco smuggling into New Zealand. “Customs has seen a significant increase in the smuggling of tobacco products into New Zealand over recent years,” Minister of Customs Meka Whaitiri says. This trend is also showing that tobacco smuggling operations are now often very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister to visit United States
    Prime Minister to lead trade mission to the United States this week to support export growth and the return of tourists post COVID-19. Business delegation to promote trade and tourism opportunities in New Zealand’s third largest export and visitor market Deliver Harvard University commencement address  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Anthony Albanese
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated Anthony Albanese and the Australian Labor Party on winning the Australian Federal election, and has acknowledged outgoing Prime Minister Scott Morrison. "I spoke to Anthony Albanese early this morning as he was preparing to address his supporters. It was a warm conversation and I’m ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Poroporoaki: Dame Aroha Reriti-Crofts DNZM CBE JP
    Tiwhatiwha te pō, tiwhatiwha te ao. Tiwhatiwha te pō, tiwhatiwha te ao. Matariki Tapuapua, He roimata ua, he roimata tangata. He roimata e wairurutu nei, e wairurutu nei. Te Māreikura mārohirohi o Ihoa o ngā Mano, takoto Te ringa mākohakoha o Rongo, takoto. Te mātauranga o Tūāhuriri o Ngai Tahu ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Boost for tourism networks as borders open
    Three core networks within the tourism sector are receiving new investment to gear up for the return of international tourists and business travellers, as the country fully reconnects to the world. “Our wider tourism sector is on the way to recovery. As visitor numbers scale up, our established tourism networks ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Law changes passed stopping tax evasion on water-pipe tobacco
    The Minister of Customs has welcomed legislation being passed which will prevent millions of dollars in potential tax evasion on water-pipe tobacco products. The Customs and Excise (Tobacco Products) Amendment Act 2022 changes the way excise and excise-equivalent duty is calculated on these tobacco products. Water-pipe tobacco is also known ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government support for Levin community hit by tornado
    The Government is contributing $100,000 to a Mayoral Relief Fund to help the Levin community following this morning’s tornado, Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan says. “My thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by severe weather events in Levin and across the country. “I know the tornado has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Statement from the Quintet of Attorneys General in support of Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova a...
    The Quintet of Attorneys General have issued the following statement of support for the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and investigations and prosecutions for crimes committed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “The Attorneys General of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand join in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Andrew Little Budget 2022 post-Budget health speech, Auckland, 20 May 2022
    Morena tatou katoa. Kua tae mai i runga i te kaupapa o te rā. Thank you all for being here today. Yesterday my colleague, the Minister of Finance Grant Robertson, delivered the Wellbeing Budget 2022 – for a secure future for New Zealand. I’m the Minister of Health, and this was ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt helps supermarket shoppers get a fair deal
    Urgent Budget night legislation to stop major supermarkets blocking competitors from accessing land for new stores has been introduced today, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said. The Commerce (Grocery Sector Covenants) Amendment Bill amends the Commerce Act 1986, banning restrictive covenants on land, and exclusive covenants ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister: Wellbeing Budget 2022 speech
    It is a pleasure to speak to this Budget. The 5th we have had the privilege of delivering, and in no less extraordinary circumstances.  Mr Speaker, the business and cycle of Government is, in some ways, no different to life itself. Navigating difficult times, while also making necessary progress. Dealing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Future resource management system implementation funding
    Budget 2022 provides funding to implement the new resource management system, building on progress made since the reform was announced just over a year ago. The inadequate funding for the implementation of the Resource Management Act in 1992 almost guaranteed its failure. There was a lack of national direction about ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding certainty for quality public media
    The Government is substantially increasing the amount of funding for public media to ensure New Zealanders can continue to access quality local content and trusted news. “Our decision to create a new independent and future-focused public media entity is about achieving this objective, and we will support it with a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding boost secures Defence capabilities
    $662.5 million to maintain existing defence capabilities NZDF lower-paid staff will receive a salary increase to help meet cost-of living pressures. Budget 2022 sees significant resources made available for the Defence Force to maintain existing defence capabilities as it looks to the future delivery of these new investments. “Since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Budget 2022 supports resilient and sustainable cultural sector
    More than $185 million to help build a resilient cultural sector as it continues to adapt to the challenges coming out of COVID-19. Support cultural sector agencies to continue to offer their important services to New Zealanders. Strengthen support for Māori arts, culture and heritage. The Government is investing in a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Minister of Finance: Wellbeing Budget 2022 Speech
    It is my great pleasure to present New Zealand’s fourth Wellbeing Budget. In each of this Government’s three previous Wellbeing Budgets we have not only considered the performance of our economy and finances, but also the wellbeing of our people, the health of our environment and the strength of our communities. In Budget ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Wellbeing Budget 2022 Speech
    It is my great pleasure to present New Zealand’s fourth Wellbeing Budget. In each of this Government’s three previous Wellbeing Budgets we have not only considered the performance of our economy and finances, but also the wellbeing of our people, the health of our environment and the strength of our communities. In Budget ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Coronial delays addressed by Budget 2022
    Four new permanent Coroners to be appointed Seven Coronial Registrar roles and four Clinical Advisor roles are planned to ease workload pressures Budget 2022 delivers a package of investment to improve the coronial system and reduce delays for grieving families and whānau. “Operating funding of $28.5 million over four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Paving the way for better outcomes for disabled people
    Establishment of Ministry for Disabled People Progressing the rollout of the Enabling Good Lives approach to Disability Support Services to provide self-determination for disabled people Extra funding for disability support services “Budget 2022 demonstrates the Government’s commitment to deliver change for the disability community with the establishment of a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Investing in education so all Kiwis can succeed
    Fairer Equity Funding system to replace school deciles The largest step yet towards Pay Parity in early learning Local support for schools to improve teaching and learning A unified funding system to underpin the Reform of Vocational Education Boost for schools and early learning centres to help with cost ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Primary sector backed to grow and innovate
    $118.4 million for advisory services to support farmers, foresters, growers and whenua Māori owners to accelerate sustainable land use changes and lift productivity  $40 million to help transformation in the forestry, wood processing, food and beverage and fisheries sectors  $31.6 million to help maintain and lift animal welfare practices across Aotearoa New Zealand A total food and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More support for first home buyers and renters
    House price caps for First Home Grants increased in many parts of the country House price caps for First Home Loans removed entirely Kāinga Whenua Loan cap will also be increased from $200,000 to $500,000 The Affordable Housing Fund to initially provide support for not-for-profit rental providers Significant additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Budget lifts up to 14,000 children out of poverty
    Child Support rules to be reformed lifting an estimated 6,000 to 14,000 children out of poverty Support for immediate and essential dental care lifted from $300 to $1,000 per year Increased income levels for hardship assistance to extend eligibility Budget 2022 takes further action to reduce child poverty and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • A booster for RNA research and development
    More support for RNA research through to pilot manufacturing RNA technology platform to be created to facilitate engagement between research and industry partners Researchers and businesses working in the rapidly developing field of RNA technology will benefit from a new research and development platform, funded in Budget 2022. “RNA ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Unleashing business potential across NZ
    A new Business Growth Fund to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow Fully funding the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund to unleash regional economic development opportunities Tourism Innovation Programme to promote sustainable recovery Eight Industry Transformation Plans progressed to work with industries, workers and iwi to transition ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Securing the wellbeing of Pacific communities
    Budget 2022 further strengthens the economic foundations and wellbeing outcomes for Pacific peoples in Aotearoa, as the recovery from COVID-19 continues. “The priorities we set for Budget 2022 will support the continued delivery of our commitments for Pacific peoples through the Pacific Wellbeing Strategy, a 2020 manifesto commitment for Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers timely support for whānau
    Boost for Māori economic and employment initiatives. More funding for Māori health and wellbeing initiatives Further support towards growing language, culture and identity initiatives to deliver on our commitment to Te Reo Māori in Education  Funding for natural environment and climate change initiatives to help farmers, growers and whenua ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago