Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Unity, success: Chicken, egg?

112 Responses

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Pharmachick,

    But it sounds like he picked himself up and kept going.

    That wasn't really the point I was trying to make. It was more that he followed the path so often lauded as this great thing by firm believers in capitalism, to take risks in investments. He had bad luck, and it's going to hang over him for a very long time. It puts him under considerable strain even now, contributes to marital issues and his reluctance to return to NZ with it's lower incomes. The other party to the investment, the bank, has, and will continue to have, healthy returns from it for the entire time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    One small point – to the best of my recollection, Government policy up until the early 70s restricted banks to making loans only for new housing.

    Yup. But there were workarounds. Banks aren't the only ones who can lend money. My folks spoke of some mysterious substance called a "solicitor's loan" that they used to get into their first place, as well as the time honored path of borrowing from their parents.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Pharmachick, in reply to fraser munro,

    Okay Fraser, that was really funny! I laughed. And you're probably right.

    Since Apr 2009 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Pharmachick, in reply to Moz,

    Sorry for going missing yesterday (work). I think communism is a failed ideology because (1) humans are not perfect enough to all settle for begin equal [so some try to be "more equal than others" H/T Orwell) and (2) I worry that communism doesn't promote excellence in all, but tends towards central distribution (i.e. averageness for all) and that's just not good enough for us as human beings to aspire to - excellence for all (whatever your definition of excellence it).

    Since Apr 2009 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Pharmachick, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Thanks for that, I thought the cartoon was directly aimed at me - see my reply to Moz to clarify about "winning" ...not the Charlie Sheen type :-)

    Since Apr 2009 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    a “solicitor’s loan”

    Where a solicitor arranged for their cash-rich clients to lend money to ones that needed a mortgage, in essence acting as a more-or-less unregulated bank.

    This then morphed into finance companies, which then collapsed. Because you don't need regulation by the government, oh no sir.

    For the latest iteration of this form of stupid, see peer-peer lending.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Pharmachick,

    But how is making sure all people in a society have access to warm homes and affordable food suddenly "communism"? No one in this thread was advocating abolishing private property.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Danielle,

    making sure all people in a society have access to warm homes and affordable food

    sounds excellent to me

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Pharmachick, in reply to Danielle,

    I simply don't believe that welfare recipients have a right to the same standard of living as people that work for their living.

    Since Apr 2009 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • keeaa, in reply to Pharmachick,

    So you believe that if you lose your job and can't find another one for some time, or if you get too sick to work for a long period, the health and welfare of you and your children should suffer?

    And don't tell me you have provided for just such an eventuality - in this hypothetical (for you) scenario, you haven't been earning enough to do so.

    Since Nov 2014 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Pharmachick,

    Again: no one's arguing that they're gonna get a weekly cleaner to do their bathrooms and twice-yearly beachside holidays in Rarotonga. We're talking about not getting rheumatic fever and not feeling like every week it's a choice between bread and milk and the electricity bill. Do you really think "welfare recipients" are kicking living standard ass, right now?

    ETA: and of course looking after kids IS work.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    And then party leadership has carried on talking about things like, well, housing and the future of work and the like.

    Point well made Deborah. I had noticed, and entirely support, the close attention to the future of work and also the debate on housing. I guess my lens on NZ politics is a little narrow, however, as I saw as much from Quin as I did on these other more significant matters.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Sacha,

    name the back office Labour peeps who are bastions of competence. Go on.

    I'll not name those that I particularly regard as such, but there's a number, Salmond is definitely one of them. That said, their specific influence will always be limited relative to Caucus, Leadership and the broader membership (as it should be).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Fair enough. So who is responsible for the party's obvious and ongoing lack of strategic nous for many years now? President, Secretary, Board, Caucus Leader, Caucus, Chief of Staff?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Fair enough. So who is responsible for the party’s obvious and ongoing lack of strategic nous for many years now? President, Secretary, Board, Caucus Leader, Caucus, Chief of Staff?

    In particular, Mike Munro and Heather Simpson left some big shoes to fill after they left.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    but I doubt either of them had much say on strategy

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis, in reply to Pharmachick,

    I simply don’t believe that welfare recipients have a right to the same standard of living as people that work for their living.

    Boogie man stuff. I teach the children of people on benefits. By the dozen. They don't live anywhere near the same standard of those who work for their living. In fact I teach kids with learning disabilities that would qualify them for teachers aides but their parents can't afford the fee to get them tested and diagnosed.

    It has nothing to do with communism.

    It's simply part of living in a functioning society. If people don't want to live in an actual functioning society then they are welcome to pull up a deserted island and Bear Grylls the rest of their life.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Pharmachick,

    Thinking that everyone should work for a living IS a communist ideal. They had a real problem with idlers. Most especially the idle rich who not only don't have to work, but also have a higher standard of living than workers. While I don't agree with them about the sanctity of work, I do think that if I were a work-worshipper I'd focus my ire at the rich and powerful rather than the poor and weak.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Yamis,

    It’s simply part of living in a functioning society. If people don’t want to live in an actual functioning society then they are welcome to pull up a deserted island and Bear Grylls the rest of their life.

    Or for that matter, living behind razor wires and concrete barriers, and travel to work and school in armoured cars. Kind of like how it’s done in Johannesburg or Lima or La Paz or Caracas. At best it’s a symptom of a bitterly polarised society, at worst it’s the first step to a neo-feudal state, even a failed state.

    From my past experiences, the dole was hardly a lifestyle choice; if anything, it felt a lot more like house arrest. Those on welfare already have enough soul-crushing lecturing as it is from the usual culture warmongers, especially those with disabilities and mental illness. What they need is a second chance to climb the ladder – in practice that means things like boosting apprenticeships or the ability to work from home. No amount of School of Hard Knocks from Key/Bennett/Tolley et al is going to fix a thing.

    A generation or two ago, people in the current ‘bludger’ demographic would have been in factories and meatworks – industries that just happened to be at the whim of globalisation (including Britain no longer needing our produce in 1973) and mechanisation. In those days, such industries weren’t the most efficient – being propped up with tariffs and subsidies – but they did allow the unskilled to work and skill their way up. Even white-collar jobs are increasingly not immune.

    And what if we were to end up with the logical extreme of a situation where robots and the Internet of Things produce flawless products, but not enough people with the money to buy them? CGP Grey’s Humans Need Not Apply comes to mind, as does an anecdote by the UAW’s Walter Reuther: "how are you going to get these robots to buy cars?"

    Which neatly ties back to the Future of Work commission and ICT apprenticeships. It goes to show that Labour has some neat policy ideas, now if they could stop looking like the Peoples’ Front of Judea…

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    Thinking that everyone should work for a living IS a communist ideal. They had a real problem with idlers. Most especially the idle rich who not only don’t have to work, but also have a higher standard of living than workers.

    Hell, the Soviets likely sent ‘bludgers’ to the Siberian gulags. As Joe Stalin supposedly said, “one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic”.

    While I don’t agree with them about the sanctity of work, I do think that if I were a work-worshipper I’d focus my ire at the rich and powerful rather than the poor and weak.

    George Carlin said it better than I ever could: "The upper class: keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class: pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there…just to scare the shit out of the middle class."

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    In 1979, it was widely predicted that automation would reduce work and result in a leisured society, where people worked a 3 or 4 day week.

    Instead, automation took away some of the industrial jobs, while in many other cases the labour cost was just reduced, onshore or offshore - why buy a $200k robot if you can get semi-slaves to do the job for $1 an hour.

    The rest of the slack was taken up by middle-class make-work jobs, a process which has gone on since the early 20th century. Instead of a slightly over-manned single electricity supplier, we now have an artificial bureacracy of "electricity retailers". Instead of car builders, we have car salespeople. Instead of doctors and nurses, we have drug reps and private healthcare managers.

    I'd recommend reading David Graeber The utopia of rules on this subject.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to tony j ricketts,

    one thing that troubled me was his use of the Napier/Hastings merger issue, where the more numerous and wealthier Napier doesn’t want a bar of merging with the less numerous and poorer Hastings.

    Hastings district has a bigger population than Napier and includes posh Havelock North and much of the local squatocracy in it’s ranks. Animosity between Napierand Hastings goes back a long way, made worse by Labour voting Napier, which was near bankruptcy after inadequate government support for it’s rebuild post the 1931 earthquake from the conservative government of the time (hey Christchurch!) having it’s debts written off by the 1935 Labour government while conservative voting Hatings did not. Then when the Napier hospital was closed Hastings did a nice little dolchstoßlegende and supported the governments consolidation to their ugly little shithole in Hastings.

    The whole amalgamation issue though is not just muddied by historic grievances. The long and deep and justified mistrust by Napier of Hastings has been aggravated by the outrageous behaviour of Hasting mayor Lawrence Yule, who clearly sees relatively debt free Napier as the answer to Hasting’s fat debt laden ass. Yule’s approach all along has been to try and use this governments draconian and anti-democratic local government amalgamation legislation to ram through a forced merger. For many Napier residents with long memories (and believe me, we have long memories down there) this is just another short termist dolchstoßlegende from a desperate mayor and debt laden council. Personally, I am going to vote against the local government equivalent of being tied to a corpse and thrown into Hawkes Bay.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I'd recommend reading David Graeber The utopia of rules on this subject.

    Thanks for the heads up. His On the phenomenon of bullshit jobs has been something of a landmark piece for me and others. I've been rather surprised - and heartened - by the sometimes unlikely people who continue to discover and recommend it.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Personally, I am going to vote against the local government equivalent of being tied to a corpse and thrown into Hawkes Bay.

    Interesting stuff Tom, though I'm mildly disappointed to find no mention of Flaxmere.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Interesting stuff Tom, though I’m mildly disappointed to find no mention of Flaxmere

    Flaxmere never existed. It’s been erased and quietly forgotten, like a third world shanty town that offended the sensibilities of the local nobs who peddle Hawkes Bay to the like minded for it’s “lifestyle”. Originally built on “useless” river shingles, Flaxmere is being slowly bulldozed to make way for vineyards and erased from the lexicon. “There is no third world poverty in Hawkes Bay, oh and have you seen Sir Paul Holmes house?” It s called modern New Zealand, which scarily resembles 19th century Britain.

    Amalgamation will only happen when the locals are allowed to come up with a plan that assuages the multi-generational distrust between the two cities. My view is a united council with the same number of councillors as now and with a 30 year gerrymander to ensure both the old cities have an equal number of councillors would be a start. Then in thrity years, review the whole thing.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

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