80 years before the birth of Jesus there was a murder trial in Rome.
Sextus Roscius was accused of killing his father in order to gain control of his 13 farms.
He was defended by a brilliant 26 year old lawyer – Marcus Tullius Cicero -who argued it made no sense for Sextus to murder his father when, in time, he would inherit the farms anyway.
Cicero then pointed at the accusers who would gain control of the farms if Sextus was executed and the asked the judges “Cue Bono?.” Who benefited? “ from the murder ? And who would benefit if Sextus was executed?
The answer was crystal clear . Not Sextus but his greedy relatives.
“Who will benefit?” is a great question to ask i-especially in situations where wealth redistribution is at stake.
The government has just received a report from an advisory group it has set up on fair pay and it will soon receive one on taxation.
We will no doubt be told that the decision of what to do about addressing the yawning gap between the rich and the poor in our country is complicated. But if you ask Cicero’s question then I think it’s easy to see what needs to happen.
In 1984 Labour introduced neoliberal economics into our country which National put on steroids . Its an ideology that all subsequent government have supported.
So – who has benefited from the 1984 economic “reforms” and free market ideology?
Andwer? A few people- largely the already monied class -gained enormously from the cutting of tax rates , the attack on the unions and the creation of a low wage economy.
They have also benefitted hugely from the fact that consecutive governments over the last 30 years have given the rich permission to accumulate even more untaxed wealth by investing in land and other capital assets.
Meanwhile the great majority of us have been made poorer by the economics and politics of selfishness and so trial time is fast approaching.
But will it be a real trial in which the greedy will be finally brought to account for the misery they have caused ?
Or will it be a show trial design to appease the anger amongst New Zealanders who work hard all week and still cannot make ends meet?
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.