GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – The Politics of Selfishness


We may live at the bottom of the world but the vast Pacific Ocean no longer insulates us from what happens in other countries far to our North East and West.

Incredible developments in technology, especially in the late 20th Century and the first 19 years of our current century have shrunk our planet so that Wall Street is now just around the virtual corner from Queen Street and decisions made in capitals such as Washington and London impact on our daily lives as rapidly as those made in Wellington.

Right now in America and the UK we are witnessing the purveyors of the politics of selfishness (my name for neoliberalism) using the tactic of division to maintain their grip on power so that the few can continue to garner great wealth at the expense of the many.

Donald Trump and Boris Johnstone are two of kind. Rather than compromise they are prepared to tear their countries apart. It’s not a story that will end well because history tells us that putting your own party before the wellbeing of your country and your fellow citizens is a formula for revolution.

Trump’s trade war with China and Johnstone’s willingness to forge ahead with a no deal Brexit, are matters which will impact on our trade and our economy.

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While our government will ,I am sure, want to put a positive spin on these events by pointing out ,for example, that a post- Brexit Britain will want to do a new trade deal with us, the fact is that if both the USA and the UK continue in their current economic and foreign policy directions then there is going to be a major recession in those two countries . Given the significant domestic money worries both of those nations will experience you can expect both of them to cut back on imports- and that’s going to affect us.

Last week our Reserve Bank cut its benchmark interest rate to an all-time low of 1%

Why ? Because it has concerns about global trade and is therefore forecasting tougher economic times for us ahead.

The idea of lowering rates is that it will encourage people to spend more – on the principle that one person’s spending is another person’s income. If we all cut back on our spending then our whole economy will slow down.

The trouble is that neoliberal economics has turned us into a low wage gig economy where many of us have to have more than one job and still struggle to make ends meet, and so we simply have no money for extra spending no matter how much you tempt us.

It’s time Finance Minister Grant Robertson tore up the “fiscal responsibility “ agreement he has with James Shaw of the Greens because that document commits him to austerity economics and perpetuation of the status quo on untaxed wealth creation.

That’s why I call it a “ social irresponsibility” agreement . It perpetuates the neoliberal economics and politics of selfishness and increases the gap between the haves and have nots. So, again, it’s divisive .

As I say, this is a story that will not end well.

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.


  1. Sadly you fail to tell the full picture of how neoliberalism is driven by immigration. Because without it, neoliberalism would die as inequality and lowered wages and increased expenses would destroy the economies very quickly in the west as the country runs out of locals buying consumables but luckily with globalism and immigration, you can then turn to immigration to bring rich people into former welfare state countries and take money with them to buy stuff, (often the spoils of a former communist country turning to neoliberalism and the new ex communist middle classes and rich scarper to new fields and countries to spend their ill gotten gains and spoils), while the poor in those countries are encouraged to go to ‘make their riches’ by either working in the country they are in, or going to a new country or just breaking the law and by being drugs couriers etc…

  2. Trump’s trade war with China and Johnstone’s willingness to forge ahead with a no deal Brexit, are matters which will impact on our trade and our economy….

    win win, US can divert their chlorine shit beef to the UK rather than China, which under the EU does not meet the safety standards but with the new trade agreement that Boris will agree to to lower standards in the UK meaning cheap crapy imports galore into the UK …

    Apparently the UK faces food shortages so can quickly create a ‘shock doctrine’ in the UK where more deregulation can occur…

    Hopefully that will not happen to the UK people, but sadly their government abandoned them after Thatcher, exported the Thatcher ideology all around the world including NZ… and that is why we have formally very rich countries with their citizens born there much poorer, while their government are more and more under the thumb of China, US, the rise of ridiculously thick, narcissistic leaders in the west, and capitulation to any industry that has a donation or $ for them.

  3. You’re right you know SaveNZ, the govt has scraped every last cent out of NZ citizens already, destroyed our incomes and ability to do something about it, we have rules and regulations right up the bejeezers and still they stick their hand out looking for more. we’re now in such a state we have to keep importing more and more immigrants just to prop the economy up but at the same time doing nothing about where to stick all these extra people just leads to more headaches. The problem is ideological politicians who only had to win a popularity contest to gain control of the govt but none of them seem to have a clue what they’re doing!

  4. It most certainly will not end well at all; you neglected to mention the outlier No Zealand neo-colonial migration levels, Bryan.. which put “us” far beyond both Trumpland and Brexitland in terms of proportion of the population born overseas… it is not going to end well at all…

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