Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Zealand Elections :More of the same - or a turning point to a fairer more sustainable world?

Some pre -election ramblings!

( Adding to my earlier blog on the elections)

Market Forces is a failed concept, the rich have got richer the poor poorer.

NZ at a crossroads.
 It's the voice of private enterprise ( in reality international corporations)  rather than the needs of people that are now listened to. A majority of people still cling to the belief that John Key's government will save then. It seems you can, contrary to the saying, 'fool most of the people all the time'!

We are like the story of the rabbits sailing out in the ocean in a boat made from a carrot selfishly busy eating their own boat without time to think of an alternative. Or, like  the Easter Islanders, so busy chopping down their trees to build their monuments  to notice their forest had gone.  Today some call this 'vulture capitalism' ;  capitalism based on growth to solve all problems without any real appreciation of the effect such growth has on the sustainability of the environment. The issue of climate change , in such an environment, is in the too hard basket. As one environmentalist has written 'we are eating our future!'

The phrase 'market forces' and a trickle down economy are no longer being mentioned by National Politicians except for their allies  the ACT party. The public  it seems just want to believe in the assurances of John Key -  personality politics.

Whale Oil
 In earlier times Margaret Thatcher used to say 'there is no alternative (TINA) but this is no longer the case. Between them the Labour and Green parties provide a real sustainable alternative but sadly they have not gained the imagination of the voters  - particularly Labour.

Opposition parties, with the exception of Internet/MANA,  have  chosen not to attack the failure of  the market forces ideology and  instead  have focused on providing positive  alternatives. In contrast the National Party have had no such qualms in attacking their opposition and have  unashamedly made use of right wing 'attack blogs' - the worst being Cameron Slater and his destructive Whale Oil blog. I am not not sure that this reluctance to attack the premise of market forces has been a good move.

This would've been a more honest hoarding!

Inequality, which ought to have been one of the most important issues, created by thirty years of market forces, has not been faced up to. National's answer is to rely on growth with no mention of the 'trickle down' metaphor!. The trouble is  we are not creating enough jobs; too many jobs are poorly paid ;many families have to survive by both parents working; and there is now a group of citizens now classified as the working poor. As well the majority of workers have not received a  recent pay rise while at the same time the wealthy were given tax cuts.. We have become a self interested me first society; greed above need.

Read what Nigel Latta and Max Rashbrooke have to say about inequality in New Zealand

The excluded are still waiting in NZ.

Right wing governments world- wide continue to follow a neo -liberal market forces ideology based on:  less government ( and as a result less protection for citizens); less  regulations ( particularly for the financial sector); and individual choice ( for those with the power to use it)   . The real winners of this ideology have the international corporations, the financial sector and  wealthy individuals  all who avoid  paying their  fair share of tax and make full use of tax havens.

Consider the implications of the TPP

The time has come for a new political ideology to replace the market forces.

Live like it's 1929!!
 Looking back over history it seems political movements have a viable life of three or four decades. If National return it will be putting off the inevitable need for change if we ever  are to face up to problems of inequality, sustainability of resources and the challenges of climate change.We now , in so many respects , are in a similar position to the world in 1929 which led to the great depression.. Following the  share market crash ( and later the destruction of World War 2) Western countries developed social welfare policies - the welfare sates of the UK and NZ and the 'New Deal' of President Roosevelt.Such programmes delivered great prosperity and equality in contrast to out current 'me first' dog eat dog society.

 We need such 'new deal' again - a 'green new deal'. 

Market Forces - ever see a dog share a bone!!

Market forces has run its course - re-electing National is only delaying the inevitable.

The world we live in.

It certainly didn't come about in the US.

 Sir Geoffrey Palmer , reflecting on the problems resulting from alcohol has written ,'the  companies that operate in this industry are big multinationals whose tentacles stretch into every country. There is absolutely no doubt at all to stand up to them requires some intestinal fortitude.'

Something National is not prepared to do!

Some people are easily fooled.

A design fault in current thinking!
Right wing governments decry the 'nanny state' believing private enterprise is preferable - which it is for the powerful. In its place they have introduced the surveillance culture of 'big brother knows best'.

Privatisation and financial deregulation has passed  the power over to multi-national corporations as we have seen in the reluctance of our government to challenge those who control alcohol - and this can only get worse. The so called 'hidden hand of the market'  , which has dominated for thirty years, has worked in favour of the rich and  the world wide corporations while deepening the  corrosive qualities of inequality and poverty worldwide. As a result of privatization public assets have been sold and many public services have been contracted out to private providers - even in such important fields as education and prisons - profit making trumps service.

Only a strong nation state can ensure corporation are kept in their place - and ensure democratic  rights of all citizens are protected.

The state, contrary to popular belief fed by right wing politicians, is a vital safeguard or the peoples interests and are crucial to stand up to corporation pressures. The belief that markets can work for the common good of all is simply not true. Successful  Nordic and  Asian countries ( including China) retain a strong role for the state. Only a strong  democratic state can ensure all its people are looked after. A strong state can introduce good regulations to protect its citizens and also ensure all its citizens, through education and training, can contribute to ensue the protection of common good for all.

Modern societies need to be inclusive , adaptable, inventive, well informed and creative.

The future requires the political will to realize such a society and to create an inspiring future vision that will capture the imagination of all people. After several decades of 'there is no alternative' we now have a chance to regain a sense of shared optimism that will create a better world than we currently have.

'Vulture capitalism's' gift!

Our generation needs to make such a transformation - to place the common good above self interest - to leave a world worth inheriting There is a better society to be won. A society based on the principles of decent work, an
environmentally sustainable environment, and an economy that places the needs of all people as central.

That many people in this election fail to see this opportunity, preferring growth as usual; placing self interest above common good; failing to see that the current market model is now the problem, is sad.

I guess we will have to wait and see what the voice of people say this Saturday.


Anonymous said...

You sure have been thinking Bruce. No mistaking your political leanings - I am with you. Cameron Slater must have traditional conservatives in moral dilemma! Recent events have taken the gloss of John Keys persona!

Bruce Hammonds said...

The behaviour of Cameron Slater and his fellow travellers, and their contacts in the National Party, are a new low in NZ politics and indicate a lack of moral/ethical leadership of John Key.

Whatever the results tomorrow at least I have done my best to work for one party - guess which one? What worries me is the lack of awareness of where the current growth agenda, the influence of multi-national corporations and the financial sector are taking our country. Another big concern is the lack of sympathy for those in real need in our country - the 'me first 'society has replaced the caring society. And of course there are the , all but ignored ( except for the Greens), issues of environmental degradation and climate change. Behind all this is a growing feeling that it is not worth voting at all - by those with most to lose or gain. Democracy is the loser.

Bruce Hammonds said...

More of the same!

Anonymous said...

The business rabbits seem determined to eat their carrot boat for their own short term gain rather than think of alternatives.

Anonymous said...

A victory for the self interested - and the corporations , big business and financial wizards that gave us the 2008 crisis.