Cleaning Up The Mess Neoliberals Left Behind

Former National Prime Minister Jim Bolger has admitted Neoliberalism was a mistake. It is music to the ears. May he be the first of many to recant.

It would be churlish (but tempting) to point out that the Alliance Party and others warned at the time that Neoliberalism would be a mistake. Neoliberalism, we said, would lead to poverty, inequality, and unaffordable housing and all the social problems associated with this.

The Left was right. But now is not the time to gloat. Too much damage has been done. Now is the time to talk about how to clean up the mess the Neoliberals have left us. Continue reading

Paying It Forward Not Payback Or Paywalls

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

Chasing The Big Money

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

Corbyn Calls For Cap On Excessive Earnings

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

Brexit: Know Your Enemy

The British people are struggling. They are hurting. And they have lashed out in the only way open to them right now – voting to leave the European Union.

Like New Zealand, Britain has never recovered since neoliberalism popped up, seemingly out of the blue, and caught us unawares in the Thatcher years (Rogernomics in our case). Under neoliberalism, cunning corporates managed to get the rules changes so that the rich get richer, those in the middle get poorer, and the poor miss out altogether. Continue reading

Making Friends With The Robots – The Swiss Vote In June On A Universal Basic Income

On 5th June Switzerland will become the first country to vote on a universal basic income. It is a timely referendum. One of the main arguments for a UBI is that technological advances mean we face a future where there will not be paid employment for everyone. And that ‘future’ may be upon us. Continue reading

Who Should Be Allowed to Buy Property in New Zealand?

Not too long ago houses were for living in and property was for doing something productive with. But these days, property is seen as something to make money out of just by owning for a while then selling.

It is a problem. Every time someone buys a house they don’t intend to live in, land they don’t intend to farm, or a commercial premise they don’t intend to run a business in, they make it that much harder for people who need a home, want to be farmers or to run their own business. Continue reading

New Zealand Needs More Cooperatives Not More Corporations

Does New Zealand really need more multinational corporations and mega-wealthy people setting up shop here?

The government’s recently announced plans to develop ‘the New Zealand Investment Attraction Strategy’ with the aim of attracting multinational corporations and wealthy entrepreneurs to New Zealand is hardly innovative thinking. The idea that our future prosperity depends on convincing the very wealthy to live here and multinationals to relocate their research and development facilities here is a slap in the face to local innovators and businesses. And to universities and government research centres that struggle for funding. Also ironic, given the billions of dollars in our superannuation fund, ACC funds, and Kiwisaver scheme which are largely invested overseas. Continue reading

A Hundred Billionaires Say “Lend Me Your Ears”

Not wanting to rain on anyone’s parade, but the picture of our Prime Minister and leaders of most of the other nations of the world “speed dating in first class” with corporate leaders and sundry other ultra rich and famous at DAVOS, is not a pretty one. A hundred billionaires bending the ears of the most influential politicians of the day has got to be bad news for the rest of us. Continue reading