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GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – We can solve huge problems if we want to.

By   /  January 5, 2019  /  15 Comments

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Right now the New Horizons Space Probe is 6.4 Billion Km from Earth and sending back data to NASA and last October the Japanese landed a small robot on a asteroid hurtling through Space 300 KM away.

Those are amazing achievements.

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Right now the New Horizons Space Probe is 6.4 Billion Km from Earth and sending back data to NASA and last October the Japanese landed a small robot on a asteroid hurtling through Space 300 KM away.

Those are amazing achievements.

So you might think with our incredible brain power we might be able to solve some difficult problems at home… like the 2.1 Billion people in the world don’t have a decent toilet and 800 million don’t have access to clean water

We also only have about 10 years left to do take action on Climate Change before our planet reaches the point of no return and life will become brutal for our children and our children’s children.

I don’t have a clever answer for why we choose to solve some huge problems and not others. I know it has a lot to do with where choose to spend our money and this is where governments come in as agencies charged with spending publicly raised funds in the public good.

Private enterprise doesn’t do that. Private enterprise only acts in the interests of its share holders.

Which is one of the reasons I have always been an advocate of progressive economics and people focused governement.

We don’t have that at the moment . We still have a neoliberal government that panders to the rich in the hope that the wealth will trickle down to improve the lives of the poor.

It’s just bunkum and those of you who know my work will not be suprised that in 2019 I will continue to call out neoliberal economics, with its coporate welfare and its deternination to run up budget surpluses, when so many of us struggle to make ends met and have no place to call our own

Facing up to Big Public issues is what drove my desire to start New Zealand Public Television and get it to the stage where writers,directors and producers who want to leave the world better than they found it can apply to it to get their projects funded by NZ On Air.

You can find NZPTV here:

It’s free. You don’t have to sign in anymore if you don’t want to but please consider becoming a friend of New Zealand Public Television because Knowledge is Power . We don’t have to accept inequality and the way things are . Together we can make a difference.

KIa Kaha


Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.

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  1. Sam Sam says:

    So, technically, the stock market only effects individuals with stock directly. But the indirect costs of a bad stock market effect those struggling against poverty far more than the wealthy. A bad stock market, one without much capital, is one that is unwilling to take risk, which means products become more expensive and monopolies arise as potential competitors find the profit/risk ratio to be too poor to compete. So if the domestic stock market receives a shock, prices increase, which is mostly absorbed by those closest to the poverty line because necessary commodities are more impacted than luxuries. It also reduces competition, making prices stay stagnant. And that’s the basic stuff.

    More complicatedly, international trade weighs in. If the U.S. domestic economy raises tariffs it sets off retaliatory responses, the U.S. labor becomes undervalued, and the goods produced count for less, because the indirect overhead jacks up the apparent price. Which in turn lowers international trade with us, in NZ, making our economy worse as the NZ government receives less taxes.

    Something else to consider is international corporations currently incorporated in the U.S., normally Delaware, being incorporated in a different country, which could further lessen tax revenue, but I don’t know enough about the international tax code, U.S.’s domestic and foreign tax code and it’s relation to international corporations to say.

    This becomes even more complicated when CEO pay comes into play. Most big time ones effectively set their own pay, bonus, and golden parachute and there is little regulation to stop it. If the economy is hammered hard enough, it is completely plausible that those 1% the reforms wold seek to draw from would recover through that.

    For further, and better, explanations I recommend Thomas Piketty as an economist author that talks about how labour and capital relate to one another.

  2. On Watch says:

    Right now the New Horizons Space Probe is 6.4 Billion Km from Earth and sending back data to NASA and last October the Japanese landed a small robot on a asteroid hurtling through Space 300 KM away.

    Are you sure this is not the “greedy” planning out their final solution… to escape earth when it becomes too brutal.
    Why else waste money in that direction when there is so much needing attention at home!

    • Not many places where the Greedies can escape to, Onwatch. In fact, there’s nowhere to go.

      Mars is pretty damn hostile; freezing cold; near-vacuum thin air; no free-running water; and a constant barrage of radiation and solar particles raining down on the little red planet.

      Antarctica would be vastly more habitable.

    • J S Bark J S Bark says:

      There is no escape mate. Planet earth is not interested how much you have in your Swiss bank account. The rich will perish along with the poor.

      And good luck with the Moon, Mars, or any of the other planets and moons in our Solar System. They will NOT support you and won’t recognise your VisaCard or Krugerrands. You are as royally fucked as the rest of us.

      The neo-liberal ethic fails to learn from history; we are all still alive on this planet after tens of thousands of years because of humanity’s instinct to work together for the common good. If you deny the common good and the community you are on the road to extinction.


    • Michal says:

      Of course it is – in my view it is all nuts, feed the planet, house the planet, sort out the damage done by humans to the planet – imagine if all those resources were put to this use. Imagine if all the dosh for those dam planes we are buying went into feeding and assisting the dispossessed in this land of plenty.

  3. Johnnybg says:

    Why all this stupidity you ask, don’t be so naive, it’s human nature at its finest. We are who we are!! Get out among the birds, bees & beasts more often & you’ll discover what we’re really made of. Civilization is a very thin veneer indeed, as beneath it the raging beast is always straining at the leash.

    • John W says:

      The birds. beasts and insects are rapidly dying off.

      Humans are bad for the planet and are better kept away from wildlife all together and the wilderness habitat.

      The final solution looks to be that humans will destroy themselves along with a massive toll on other species.

      Very few Humans appear to be able to learn a cooperative being with a variety of other species.

    • Michal says:

      Civilisation = killing with bombs
      Barbarity = killing by spear

  4. countryboy says:

    Jesus ! Awesome stuff @ Y’all.
    @ Bryan Bruce. Spot on. More spotty than a gathering of spotted things on International Spotted Things day. More spot on than a freckly red haired Irish child with measles and pimples. Don’t ask me how I know. It’s a long and harrowing story. I can tell you though, that, that particular child learned at an early age to scratch with one hand and pick with the other. Happily, no further use came of that particular talent.
    The achievements you write of ARE amazing. The tech involved is mind boggling and the money required to fund such endeavours must be equally so.
    And chillingly @ ON WATCH may be right too.
    There’s no where out there in space that’s as hostile as Invercargill’s Bank Corner during a howling winters day gale force sou wester but really? Mars? It’s red and dead. Venus? ( Weirdly, no one talks about Venus…? ) Mercury? Get a good tan, I admit. Everything else is a curiosity at best. Entirely uninhabitable, deadly to all organisms and frankly completely fucking useless because we can’t even smooch to the light of Neptune of an evening. It’s not even a dot, unless one has a telescope in ones pocket. ( ! )
    I certainly do entertain the idea that there’s more than a little ulterior motivation going on. I bet you, they’re looking into the idea of a culling. A noble cause driven by the common good… to cull billions of humans in order to save the species. If we’ve so fucked it up and we have only ten years to turn things around? Then, we’re certainly fucked. It takes me ten years to get in my washing. What the fuck are we going to achieve in ten years to solve global warming. Plant a tree! Never, ever fart ever again. When I get anxious, I fart like an elephant full of rice bubbles! What the fuck am I going to do with ten years worth of anxiety gas! I guess we could pipe it up into space? Maybe that’s what they’re up to? They’re building a fart pipe into space? Poor old space, that’s all I can write. Would our farts be piped to The International Fart Station for ignition? ( I just thought of dear old David Bowie…? https://youtu.be/iYYRH4apXDo )
    What’s bearing down on us even more thunderously than boiling alive in a global sauna is the dawning of the notion that our politicians are cosseting up to the brain power behind the rocket science. I do truly fear we’re about to be pruned down a little to a more agreeable population of , say, half a billion. More likely less but that’s a good figure to start with.
    If our goose is cooked so to speak, and we really do only have ten years then we, as a species don’t have the luxury of time to lower the global population by natural means, i.e. infertility, starvation, war etc. Someone elite must make the Big Decision to release the virus/s if they’re to survive. The 1 % don’t care at all about you and me and they and those. They will see us as just shitting, breeding and consuming things. (To paraphrase some German artist fellow. ) That is who they are. Why should they suddenly be any less the cornered rat because too many of the Us’s threaten the 1%er Them’s?
    The thing that fucks me off is that they, the 1%ers, exploited us with the help of our politicians who funded them with our money to a point of actually, literally being able to cull us like we do to mice in a grain silo.
    But who would know, right? I could be wrong. I fucking hope to Christ I am wrong.
    Want a sleepless night? Go check out the Boeing/NASA interactive exhibition on at MOTAT.
    “Explore the evolution of aerospace innovation and technology with an exciting new exhibition touching down at MOTAT this summer. Presented by Boeing, in collaboration with NASA and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, ‘Above and Beyond’ will be on display in New Zealand exclusively at MOTAT until 11 March 2019.”
    It really is quite OH FUCK !!!!
    Lots of Hollywood muzic and high-five whoop/yeahs and boo yahs! I was sure ( Hoping) bruce willis was going to absail down a wall and stab me in the arse cheek with a syringe full of spare testosterone. But no… 🙁

  5. Helena says:

    Don’t ya just love CGI!

  6. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    Excellent article as always Bryan.

    Delighted to see you contributing to TDB.

    Applause and encouragement…

  7. Mike the Lefty says:

    Your points are well taken.
    As a species we are capable of so much, yet achieve so little.
    We would rather spend trillions of dollars on weapons and war than use the money to make sure everyone has enough to eat, somewhere decent to live and a clean environment.
    Jesus would surely weep again if he could see us now.

  8. Andrew says:

    Do you realise how many times and how long ago these people have told us we have only ten years left?

    • John W says:

      What some people say often has very little to do with likelihood of what evidence shows when the bigger picture is examined.

      Cherry picking and other reductionist ploys suit some mindsets.

      The picture for the planet regarding human habitation is certainly not getting better.

      Shrug that of as you may.

      Capitalism is a apart of that creeping disaster now well underway.

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