Inequality and crime go hand in hand. There is enough research now to make that abundantly clear. We can have more police to catch people who take what they want but will never be able to afford to buy. We can introduce harsher sentences. We can build more prisons. But we will never have a safe place to live until we address the root cause – some people have far too much and others not near enough. Continue reading
When Kraft, parent company of Mondelez, staged a hostile takeover of Cadbury in 2009, it was not interested in Cadbury’s factories. Factories are two a penny. What it was after was the brand, and with it the markets. Where the products were made was irrelevant.
The enterprising and innovative CEO’s of the big multinationals have got it all worked out. Maximum profits for minimum effort. Why bother to create and establish a market for your own brand of product? You can use your investors’ money to buy an established company that has done all the hard work, keep the brands you want and eliminate the competition in one foul swoop by closing down their plants. Continue reading
Soon the election year lolly scramble will begin. Politicians of all stripes will throw out handfuls of the sweets they think people like the most – that will get them the most votes. Nothing wrong with that. No votes no power, after all.
But a good government needs good policies, not just charismatic popular politicians who give the sound bites people want to hear. To avoid Brexit/Trump style disasters, voters need to be a lot more savvy than the politicians that seek to represent them. Continue reading
Giant US-based food processing company Mondelez announced on Thursday that it plans to close its confectionery-making plant ‘Cadbury’ in Dunedin at the end of the year, leaving over 350 workers without jobs. There is no good reason to close the plant. It turns a profit every year. Continue reading
Our government and local bodies are becoming embarrassingly desperate to attract rich people to our country and our cities. Nothing is too much bother; building five star hotels, luxury conference venues, changing our laws so they can cut corners on labour costs for their movies, or just making them New Zealand citizens even though they don’t live here, or even want to live here. Continue reading
Housing is set to be an election issue. Rightly so. Far too many people are without a warm dry home. Far too many people pay exorbitant rents. Taxpayers are forced to stump up a large portion of this rent for people whose employers do not see it as their responsibility to pay their workers a wage that would enable them to afford the extortionate rent charged by their landlords.
Only a few people are able to afford buy a home to live in. Most of those people live in the less populated/popular areas where sanity has prevailed and houses are still regarded as somewhere to live, not an easy way to make a quick buck.
We all get the problem, but this election let’s not just talk about how many new houses the government – or whoever they delegate the job to – should build over the next ten years. Whatever the amount, if nothing else changes it won’t be nearly enough. Continue reading
A maximum wage – Franklin D Roosevelt first called for it, Bernie Sanders called for it, and now 75 years after Roosevelt, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK Labour Party, has called for it. It’s long overdue.
Corbyn says, “What we cannot accept is a society in which a few earn in two and a bit days what a nurse, a shop worker, a teacher do in a year. That cannot be right.” Continue reading
National Superannuation is a great scheme. It allows people to live with dignity whether they are in paid work or not. It has been around in non-means-tested form ever since 1938. National party stalwart Rob Muldoon insisted on a national superannuation rate of 80% of the average wage for couples.
Universal national superannuation survived the era of Rogernomics and Ruthanasia. Almost. The age of eligibility was raised from 60yrs to 65yrs, and the rate dropped to 66% of the net average wage. And politicians, neoliberal economists, and the independently wealthy have been trying to work out ways to get rid of it ever since. Continue reading
We have a new Prime Minister – or do we? John Key may have been the front person for the National Party, but he was not driving policies. It is widely acknowledged Bill English did that, and he is the new Prime Minister. The question is, can Mr English sell his policies as effectively as Mr Key did for him? Continue reading
Our Prime Minister, John Key, seems to be struggling to come to terms with the fact that the TPP is gone. The battle has been lost. The US will never accept it without major concessions like a 12 year patent period on biologics. US Pharmaceutical Corporations’ profits versus people’s access to lifesaving medicine. People’s lives versus making a few people very rich. It’s a no-brainer. We cannot go there and neither can the other 10 participating countries.
Time to move on. But not to other deals of the same ilk – albeit without the US as Mr Key is hoping against hope. Time to talk in wider terms than just businesses in one country’s desire to exploit people in another country. All in the name of ever expanding, ever increasing profits. Continue reading