Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Report Card

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  • Juha Saarinen,

    Nat and Peter Gutmann's talks yesterday were real eye-openers to say the least. It was good of InternetNZ to put together that conference, although a bit of me would like to grizzle at it being held just a couple of days before the deadline for the Select Committee submissions...

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    although a bit of me would like to grizzle at it being held just a couple of days before the deadline for the Select Committee submissions...

    Mostly a function of the deadline being so tight. I think Internet NZ did quite well to get out of holiday mode in time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    that wedding photo breaks my heart

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    although reading an interview with that guy cheers me up

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Go Anglophonic Liberalism!

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Thanks at least for the instaputz link as some light relief.

    The UNICEF study is disturbing, even assuming things have improved, and there's always problems with data comparability, it's still worrying that we've performed so poorly after several years of relative economic prosperity - perhaps the link is no so direct?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Relative economic prosperity for whom?

    I presume you are not a renter, don't stock supermarket shelves, work in retail, don't have a student loan, pick grapes, serve tables...

    Gross wealth and income may be growing in NZ, but has increasingly not been going to the wage earners, and entry level salary earners who make up most of the population, further a fair chunk of it is increasingly not even staying in NZ...

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Marcus "relative economic prosperity" is a pretty mild statement. Perhaps I was a little too oblique, but I was alluding to the issues you've raised - hence the comment "perhaps the link is not so direct".

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Lea,

    Grr, I hate rankings. They are stupid. They distort the relative position between countries and don't provide anything good except for the media to create shock "omg we are the bottom" or "yay we are number 1" headlines.

    The reporting of statistics is appalling because they don't give you anything to measure it by.

    Example: "The country is slightly worse than average for 15-year-olds who feel lonely (7 per cent)"

    We don't have anyway of knowing if that is good, bad or average. Reporting an average here would help. If the average was 8%, then it doesn't look too bad. If the average was 2% then we should be concerned.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Wilson,

    Without actually expressing an opinion, the "valid argument" police would like to point out that correlation doesn't imply causality.

    California, USA • Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Robert: In deploying that truism did you have any particular correlation in mind?

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Jason: Yes, perhaps any given statistic may not be interesting on its own, but the report is interesting in terms of its aggregated findings and their fit with political economic research.

    In essesence, what Arend Lijphart calls "Consociational" democracies almost catagorically seem to do better than Majoritarian democracies (i.e. the Anglosphere). Or in the the typology of Hall and Soskice, Coordinated Market Economies are doing better than the Liberal Market Economies. Esping-Anderson's Social Democratic Welfare states do better than our cohort of Liberal welfare states.

    Basically, this evidence would support other research that suggests our political economic paradigm dosen't deliver the goods and services...

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Wilson,

    My ambigous comment was in reference to Russell's point:

    You may note a reasonable correlation between countries with "smacking" bans and countries at the other end of the scale from us. It's probably not the day to be firing out a press release demanding the right to smack.

    California, USA • Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Robert: Fair Cop from the Valid Arguement Police.

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    I've been to Neiman Marcus a few times, which makes it a little strange to read posts by Marcus Neiman.

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    We don't have anyway of knowing if that is good, bad or average. Reporting an average here would help. If the average was 8%, then it doesn't look too bad. If the average was 2% then we should be concerned.

    It's all in the Unicef report itself, mostly with attractive bar graphs for accessibility.

    Having done my 'nana at Simon Collins' "80,000 hungry children" story last week, I do feel bound to point out that he's done quite a good job of summarising this report.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Simon Collins did well to inject some historical context into his summary, but there's some illuminating information here

    New Zealand's rate of child death by intentional injury is shameful. But it's lower than it was in the 1980s, and sharply lower than it was in the 1990s, a boom time for the malicious injury of children.

    Another Innocenti report on child deaths by injury has a more startling figure. Check out page 9: between the early 70s and the early 90s, child injury deaths in NZ nearly halved (in part through the application of various forms of "political correctness"). But they fell even more in some other countries.

    It's very easy to think of the past as a golden era. It's not always true.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Of course the past is not a "golden" place, but focussing on one or two indicators misses what the aggregated picture that is the point of the report.

    The most interesting thing about it as a piece of social research is that NZ - and the other Anglophonic Liberal political economies, with their majoritarian political culture and emphasis on marketisation and commodification as the de facto organising principles of social life - are almost categorically as a set of political economies doing worse than, particuarly the Social Democratic, consensus-orientated political economies of Northern Europe.

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The most interesting thing about it as a piece of social research is that NZ - and the other Anglophonic Liberal political economies, with their majoritarian political culture and emphasis on marketisation and commodification as the de facto organising principles of social life - are almost categorically as a set of political economies doing worse than, particuarly the Social Democratic, consensus-orientated political economies of Northern Europe.

    Yes. High taxes and deep welfare seem to be good for children. Fancy ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Lea,

    Ah yes, the details are in the report (just checked it out now). My point was really about the 'reporting of statistics', the vague hope that I can read the summary and get some figures that I can compare and be shocked or proud without having to dig further.

    Heh, looked at stuff from my example ("The country is slightly worse than average for 15-year-olds who feel lonely (7 per cent)") and found it to wrong. NZ is 6.6%, with a Mean of 7.4%, so we are slightly better than average, unless Simon wants 15yr olds to feel lonely :)

    This is an example which should hardly even be mentioned in the summary because it is so unremarkable as every other country is around the 5-10% mark (except for Japan on 30%!).

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    except for Japan on 30%

    no wonder they invented pocamon.

    but seriously. perhaps the finding on high child injury can finally put pay to criticism of current emphasis on safety culture.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    While high taxes and deep welfare are important, I think at core it is the liberalism as a political culture that is almost equally important in accounting for NZ's poor performance - norms like that a governing coalition must only have 51% of seats in parliament to rule rather than form what political scientists call "oversized cabinets", the terms of engagement of the state with communities, and so on.

    In a soundbite, we just don't know how to care...

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Slightly off-topic, but related to child-rearing and correlation/causation....
    There was a fantastically bizarre letter in the ODT the other day. The write appeared to be arguing that children had always been lazy and eaten bad food, thus the current obesity epidemic was a result of corporal punishment.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Sorry, that should be the current obesity epidemic was a result of [b]no[/b] corporal punishment.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Man. Just not my day.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

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