Speaker by Various Artists

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Speaker: Honest Bastards & Dishonest Cowards

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to llew40,

    n the same way that Republicans are painting themselves into a demographic and constituency corner, my concern is simply that Labour are appealing to less and less people, in the name of principles that sadly no longer seem to be relevant to many NZers, and that gaining broader appeal needs to be the highest priority.

    I think one relevant thing to consider here is the way that National was obliged to take on board a raft of Labour initiatives – Working for Families, paid parental leave, the Super Fund (for a while), interest-free student loans – in order to render itself electable in 2008. Curia had presumably done the research to identify the Labour policies the electorate didn’t want to do without.

    Has Labour done similar research to work out which dead rats it will need to swallow? Not some general sense of needing to be “National-lite”, but the battles it’s probably not going to win. I’m not even sure what those things are myself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    They need to focus on identifying ways to depict the Key government as dirty, crony-capitalists. It really isn’t that hard since that’s what they are.

    Here’s a possible start: “For the price of a shipload of sheep to Saudi Arabia, you could instead get x number of doctors.”

    That's not "dirty crony capitalists" so much as simple competence, which I suspect will be more fruitful. I think it's pretty clear after Dirty Politics that the public will overlook the most dreadful shit in favour of who it thinks can run the country.

    The trick is to convince people that Govt spending in itself isn’t bad, but rather where their tax dollars go to. The term “fiscal chickenhawk” comes to mind.

    Yep. Bad spending is bad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    No you are wrong Ben, quantitative easing is in fact printing more notes and putting them into circulation.

    No Bart, you are wrong. It takes 10 seconds to discover this by reading only the first Wikipedia paragraph on the subject, which is the barest minimum of research you'd expect someone to make when trying to comment intelligently on the issue. Quantitative easing did not involve any money printing at all, it involved the central bank buying bonds from banks, which is an entirely different way of increasing the money supply. It is but one way of increasing the money supply over and above the way they already do it, and there are others besides, including printing money, which I never suggested, but wouldn't dismiss out of hand because it's a very, very complicated issue. One you think you understand far in excess of what you do in fact understand. I'm surprised at you for trusting the "sound economic reasons" that neoliberal economists mostly produced to disparage any other methods for increasing the money supply that don't involve directly enriching banks and massively increasing consumer debt in the process. I'm surprised because you've said many times how much of a science economics isn't. If you want to be consistent on that, then perhaps you could start by abandoning the idea that the economic gods hand this wisdom down, just as physical scientists long since have for more conventional science.

    However, every dollar you print in NZ will instantly change our exchange rate by exactly that proportion.

    Proportion of what? The entire money supply? Do you know how much that actually is? Do you have any evidence that that is what would happen? How much money do you think that would be to, say, drive down our currency by 1%? 10 billion? 100 billion? Do you know? How? Even if you do somehow magically know this economic law, can you honestly tell me that a 1% drop in the exchange rate isn't worth 10 billion of public spending? Especially since farmers are constantly complaining that our overvalued dollar could do with some fizz taken out of it.

    It's definitely worth talking about. I'm certainly not going to stop just because you've got blinkers on. This is a thread in which the possible can be entertained - there's no rule saying that your shitty little vision of tax-and-spend that will lose the next election is the entire range of possible left wing opinion on the matter. Very, very far from true.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the public will overlook the most dreadful shit in favour of who it thinks can run the country.

    Thats the scariest thing of all.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Has Labour done similar research to work out which dead rats it will need to swallow?

    I'd like to know this too. It seems to me that railing against the influence of marketing in politics is futile. If you can't beat them, join them. This is a game both can play. It's not like amongst the huge smorgasbord that is public policy in NZ that there is really some huge overarching policy difference between the parties - that's all marketing hype talking about extremes that neither side actually displays. It's about talking up the expenditure that Labour really does think important, cutting the costs they think are unjustified, raising funds in ways that the public can stomach, identifying various injustices that are a simple law change away from fixing and selling the lot as a package. All of that requires research far more than it requires talking heads.

    Yes, it's sad. Such is representative democracy, a choice between brands. But that doesn't mean that a great many of the minor distinctions aren't important. Some groups will win, some will lose. If Labour+potential coalitions partners can make the winners be a larger group, or at least communicate more effectively to the group that are winners than National, and can at least make some of the people voting National a bit doubtful about which way it might go for them, then they're maximising their potential within the small scope that our system practically allows.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    "Playing the game by the rules laid down by your opponent is a sure-fire way to lose, lose and lose again"

    First principles: what are the rules laid down by the left's opponents?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Has Labour done similar research to work out which dead rats it will need to swallow?

    And if not, what did they spend their money on instead?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to BenWilson,

    If you can’t beat them, join them. This is a game both can play.

    Except its not a game.
    I wish I found some comfort in your many words I dont.
    In a many and varied ways globally we are in a watershed of fecal rivulets headed for a big shit pond. Nationals present doochbaggery is just one

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to andin,

    I wish I found some comfort in your many words I dont.

    Me neither. I'm not saying them to be comfortable. Even if it's a crap game, it's still the game that has to be play.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    And if not, what did they spend their money on instead?

    I bet they do spend money on it. But Curia is a whole nother level. That's getting a tame and well organized research organization all to themselves. I think the Left is only going to compete by doing something like it. And there's no shortage of people with the skills to do just that, right here on this site, much less in the country at large.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Labour hires UMR, apparently, Not so cosy as Davy and the PM's weekly chats. Who knows what they do with the information we all help pay for?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Ieuan Wickham, in reply to BenWilson,

    If you can't beat them, join them.

    Or don't. Or disrupt the game. But I agree that complaining about the game doesn't seem to work.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    ETA: Oh, and progressive taxes aren’t as progressive as they sound. It’s a perennial problem that the richest people on the planet don’t pay them. They’re middle class taxes. If you want to understand why the middle class is hollowing out around the developed world, perhaps looking at the way in which they get massively taxed, but inheritances, property and capital don’t would be good start.

    Which again brings to mind the late great George Carlin...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Ieuan Wickham,

    Or don’t. Or disrupt the game. But I agree that complaining about the game doesn’t seem to work.

    As in this sort of 'disrupt the game'?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0MY2zr4Weac#t=521

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    It takes 10 seconds to discover this by reading only the first Wikipedia paragraph on the subject, which is the barest minimum of research you’d expect someone to make when trying to comment intelligently on the issue.

    Here you go Ben because the wiki page is not the clearest.

    And here is the quote you need to read and understand

    To carry out QE central banks create money by buying securities, such as government bonds, from banks, with electronic cash that did not exist before. The new money swells the size of bank reserves in the economy by the quantity of assets purchased—hence "quantitative" easing.

    CREATE MONEY

    In the US they actually print dollar bills but most modern countries use electronic transaction such as the ones wiki describes.

    The important thing to understand is that it is exactly the same as printing dollars.

    After the central bank or reserve bank uses quantitative easing there is more money than there was before. And most importantly the value of each unit changes in direct proportion to the amount created.

    So if NZ made 5% more money the value of the NZ dollar would be 5% lower. That is why it has an effect on imports and exports.

    As the economist article explains QE can be useful in certain situations, particularly if the internal economy is large enough to respond to QE. But in NZ that is not true.

    I strongly suggest you spend more than 10 seconds doing research next time before deciding that yet again you have to find a way to argue with me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The important thing to understand is that it is exactly the same as printing dollars.

    No, the important thing is to realize that they are not the same. They are entirely different mechanisms for increasing the money supply. They are conflated by many but they are not the same - this is evident because they can't possibly be used in the same way. In the QE model the banks are left entirely in control of how the money is distributed. If the government printed the money itself, it could spend it itself.

    Also, there are other mechanisms for increasing money supply besides both of those in operation. Our money supply is currently increased all the time, by banks. To scream blue murder about the government doing it under their own control is a bizarre thing for any purported socialist to do, and is only excusable because of your apparent ignorance about this.

    I strongly suggest you spend more than 10 seconds doing research next time before deciding that yet again you have to find a way to argue with me.

    Thanks for the usual patronizing bullshit, Bart. Really helps the debate. I've spent years now researching this stuff. I've gained degrees in the mathematics required to understand it over the last few years. And the one thing that stands out to me more and more, the more I look into it, is just how simple it isn't. Your pitifully simple understanding of how it works is about where I was 5 years ago. The money supply is an extremely complicated and highly controversial matter. We should at least be able to discuss it without the simplistic dismissals you're bringing to the table.

    So if NZ made 5% more money the value of the NZ dollar would be 5% lower. That is why it has an effect on imports and exports.

    Again, what evidence do you have that it works like that? And can you quantify a damned thing you're talking about? How much money is 5% of the money in NZ? Since our exchange rate can fluctuate by 5% over the course of a few months anyway how terribly important is it that such a mechanism remain completely unavailable to our government? Isn't the fact that it could actually be used to deflate the NZ dollar a good thing in some cases? Especially if the corollary of that is money the government has to spend on real things that we want like schools, hospitals and science. It could at least be in the toolbox. It could at least be something that experimentation is allowed on, rather than the kind of outdated theories you're giving. It could be money entering supply to do more than just raise Auckland house prices and dairy land values.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • llew40,

    *sigh*

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to llew40,

    *sigh*

    Oh, big effort llew40 . I'm hanging in there to see where it leads ;)

    I'm over reading QE for dummies now and still cant see who is right although BW is convincing. The Bart/ Ben debate is good food for thought.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    The Bart/ Ben debate is good

    No it's tedious and boring and does nothing for anyone.

    Sorry guys I shouldn't have bothered. Ben argues with everything I say on this site now - leaving me feeling very much like there is little point in trying to contribute. It takes too much energy to ignore his constant trolling of me so I'll leave him to it for a while.

    I don't particularly like flouncing but honestly it is too stressful to have this kind of reaction and argument every time and I need a break from it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    If nothing else Bart It has got me interested in QE and I think you can both be right. It is obviously not easy to get one's head around as there is much on the internets that point in both the directions both of you are taking. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with each other. Contribution is healthy. Teasing ,not so much ,but the fact both of you have strong opinions does not suggest to me trolling. I do think Ben would have the same debate no matter who would have said what you have. Many here have strong opinions and ideas, sometimes it's good to step away from the computer. I do it. T'other does it often. Don't fret. Mostly it's not personal here.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I'm not singling you out. It may feel that I disagree with everything you say, but that is not the case. I just don't contest things I agree with. I've contested things with others too, but in this case you decided that you wanted to defend your trench in which tax-and-spend is the only future for Labour. It's a pretty big claim, so it seemed worthwhile to me to explore it.

    FWIW, I've felt hostility from you for a while. My response is to take you seriously, not to become more personal and dismissive. I read what you say carefully, think about it, and respond properly, attempting to strike right directly at the heart of the matter. This is giving you the respect I think you are worth. I don't even bother to do that with people I don't rate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Labour hires UMR, apparently

    I'm pretty sure they do, as I went to a focus group myself that was clearly Labour sponsored, with the aim of trying to get insight into how to market David Shearer better. I was the token unemployed guy, but probably a bad choice for any focus group on account of being an outlier on many counts. Talking to the other people afterward it became clear to me that we were a segment they were interested in as people who had once voted for Labour, but did not in the prior election.

    It was a very interesting occasion, I must say. It was very much marketing focused, looking at perceptions of Shearer (part of the reason I would have been a bad choice - I had actual researched knowledge of Shearer rather than the broad sweeping uninformed perceptions that they were probably looking for). The usual methods of marketing, you know - what kind of clothes do you see him in? What kind of house is Shearer? Does your perception of Shearer as a complete nobody pussy change upon seeing some footage of him tearing Key a new one in the House? etc. I came away with a feeling just from the way the moderator guided discussion that they were most interested in the feelings of the right wing people in the group, and how they could change them. Interestingly, these seemed to be the people most likely to actually change their perceptions based on the information given, as they also seemed to be the least knowledgeable in the first place. Most of them started with virtually no knowledge at all about the guy apart from cliches they'd picked up.

    So yeah, they do it. But man that kind of thing is expensive. I got paid $50 just to go and there were about 10 of us. They'd have to do many of those, and pay the moderators and people watching from behind the mirrors and perusing the videos afterward. Curia giving Key a call any time he feels like it to hand over the latest statistical intel must be one hell of an advantage. Hence I say, until there's a Curia of the left, that's a freebie win for National right there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I should also note that this is also quite a big opportunity for whichever entrepreneurial left wing statisticians take up the challenge. Having the ear of the PM has done DPF no harm, quite the contrary, it's a big thing for his business and his CV. But that's one of the great ironies of Left wing politics - finding people to do serious work for free for which they would otherwise get paid big bucks seems to be harder than it is for the Right. Charitable donation and loss-leaders are not things it's hard to sell to them, whereas the idea offends many on the other side. People will only give away valueless things like time delivering pamphlets that mostly end up in recycling bins, or sausage sizzles that serve little purpose than social networking between the faithful, or their endless opinion on the internet (guilty as charged, your honor. But I'm trying to change...honest).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes... 'though one of the difficulties I have in asking people to do work for free is that I feel that we should value people's labour.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Totally. Also the demographic it's traditionally stood for has less money, so less free time to give, quite aside from money. It's a lot to ask.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

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