The title of Don Brash’s latest exercise in making John Key appear moderate second 2025 Ttaskforce report is “Focusing on Growth”. Which got me thinking, why should we be myopically focused on growth? Neoliberalism treats growth as an end in itself. That reduces us to mere cogs in the machine of ‘New Zealand Inc’ (what an odious term that is). A healthy society is more than its GDP growth rate.
No, GDP is not an end in itself. It is one mechanism towards a worthy end – the creation of a sustainable, peaceful, happy, heathly, educated, and prosperious society. We don’t need to increase GDP to achieve this, we need to use the wealth we have more wisely.
We can start by looking at these factors:
A distribution of income where the top 16,000 have a higher combined income than 1.1 million other taxpayers put together.
A distribution of wealth where 300,000 people have $190 billion in net assets between them and 1.5 million have $5 billion in net assets combined.
A division of GDP where workers get just 43% of GDP in wages and salaries compared to 55% in 1975 (a 22% reduction in our slice of the pie), and 47% in Australia, and 50-55% in the Scandinavian countries.