The most important must read political blog of 2020 – A Caucus Of Velvet Gloves

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NEW ZEALAND now boasts one of the most diverse parliaments on the planet. In terms of gender, ethnicity and sexuality, the governing Labour Party’s caucus, in particular, bears testimony to the work of many progressive politicians, over many years, to transform “diversity” from a pious ideological aspiration into a flesh-and-blood political fact. Quite an achievement.

But, it is also an achievement fraught with danger. Because, as Bryce Edwards points out in his recent Guardian article, the Labour Party’s diversity does not extend to class.  The fact is that New Zealand has a parliament – and a government – drawn overwhelmingly from the Professional-Managerial Class (PMC). The perils of this social monoculture should be obvious. It can only raise a formidable barrier to understanding – and hence addressing – the needs of those living in the bottom half of New Zealand society.

This is not simply a problem founded on ignorance: a case of Labour not knowing what it doesn’t know about life in the Otaras and Flaxmeres of New Zealand. It’s much worse than that.

The PMC is distinguished by the role it plays in mediating Capitalism’s relationship with its most injured victims. Without the PMC army of lawyers, probation officers, social workers, health professionals, teachers, journalists and “communications specialists” to extinguish the fires ignited constantly by economic exploitation and social exclusion, the whole of capitalist society would soon be engulfed in flames.

The PMC is what you create when the price of relying exclusively upon police officers, judges, jailers and soldiers to keep the bottom half under control grows too high. It’s the velvet glove that Capitalism pulls on to hide and soften its iron fist. For this subterfuge to work, however, the PMC has to believe that it knows much better than Capitalism’s casualties what’s good for them. There is one very simple reason why a government comprised overwhelmingly of members of the PMC will find it almost impossible to understand what the bottom half of New Zealand society needs: because it is supremely confident that it already does.

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Nowhere has this “we know best” attitude been on display more clearly than in Oranga Tamariki. A more compelling example of the PMC’s inability to comprehend the sheer scale of its failure is hard to imagine. The idea that the “lower orders” might actually have a better grasp of what is needed to keep their children safe is simply inconceivable to the bureaucrats set in authority over them. These people are the “problem” – so how could they possibly be included in the search for solutions?

One has only to watch Melanie Reid’s harrowing Newsroom video to see the PMC at work. The employees of Oranga Tamariki quite literally put themselves between the victim and the Police – not to protect the young Maori mother, but to do everything possible to ensure that the “uplifting” of her child was effected without recourse to actual force.

The PMC’s stock-in-trade is institutional violence. The injuries it inflicts may be no less severe, but they are certainly more easily hidden than those caused by physical violence. For Capitalism, internal bleeding is always preferable to blood on the streets.

Those Labour supporters feeling confused and distressed by the Government’s apparent deafness to the cries of need arising from the poorest and most exploited New Zealanders should understand that when it comes to Labour’s caucus that deafness is a feature, not a bug. Alert Labour MPs to overt displays of misogyny, white supremacy, anti-Islamic prejudice and/or homophobia, and watch them spring into action. These are injustices which Capitalism is only too happy to help progressive politicians eradicate. Socio-economic injustices, however, are a different matter.

Any serious attempt to eradicate these wrongs would constitute a direct challenge to the capitalist system as a whole, and since the PMC looks upon capitalism as the most effective and efficient system for allocating resources that humankind has so far developed, undermining its operation in any serious way would be considered irrational. While it is perfectly acceptable to help those “doing it hard” to respond to capitalism’s needs, expecting capitalism to respond to theirs (in any meaningful way) is politically unrealistic.

The Ministry of Social Development (the clue to its mission is in the name!) will organise job clubs and offer help with beneficiaries’ CVs, but it will not pay a benefit that ensures them a secure and dignified existence. What incentive would there be to kowtow to the boss if, secure in the knowledge that they could live easily on the unemployment benefit until a better job came along, employees felt free to tell employers where to stick their lousy jobs? For capitalism to work, so must the rest of us, at wages and under conditions set by the bosses – not the workers. Employees who no longer fear the sack are capitalism’s worst nightmare.

The members of Labour’s parliamentary caucus – the largest ever – will undoubtedly bridle at the very suggestion that they belong to a class comprised of capitalism’s little helpers. Many will, no doubt, wax eloquent about their working-class origins, or the years they spent on the DPB. Not the point. The effectiveness of the PMC is, in large measure, guaranteed by so many of its members’ historical proximity to poverty. Being able to say: “I know what you’re going through, I’ve been where you are.”, makes the PMC’s advice and solutions all the more credible. After all, if these important people got up and away from the shitty world in which the poor remain trapped, then maybe they can too.

This is, of course, capitalism’s oldest and most persuasive narrative: from rags to riches (or, at least, from a benefit to a six-figure salary). Except of course, the story is only ever about individual – not collective – emancipation. Capitalism can cope with people moving from rags to riches one at a time; but not all at once. Celebrating identities over which we have no control (ethnicity, gender, sexuality) poses no threat to the institutions that keep the capitalist system on its feet. Telling people that they have the collective power to build a new world, on new foundations, does.

I, for one, would be delighted to hear capitalism’s little helpers in Labour’s caucus giving voice to such a dangerous idea. I am much more likely, however, to hear them bragging about their caucus being, at last, a true reflection of New Zealand society. And if, by that, they mean Labour’s team faithfully reflects the forces preventing New Zealand society from becoming a fairer and more compassionate society, then I can only agree.

 

49 COMMENTS

  1. I wholeheartedly agree, Chris.

    Chris Hedges wrote a magnificent piece several years ago along the same lines -‘The Careerists’- in which he pointed out how bureaucrats mindlessly kept the death camps of the Third Reich functioning, and now keep the wheels of capitalism turning by denying poor people benefits, by authorising the eviction of people from their homes because they had fallen behind in the rent or mortgage, by denying people healthcare because their need is not in the budget etc.

    https://countercurrents.org/hedges230712.htm

    What is abundantly clear to me (after banging my head for many years on the walls of apathy, ignorance, denial, complacency and cowardice and deceit that define politics in NZ) is that the people you refer to, these PMCs, have no idea how the economy works, nor do they have any idea how the Earth was a self-correcting environmental system until industrial humans upset the balance; they are so economically and ecologically blind (or cowardly) they will go along with any and every kind of absurdity the economists and bankers put before them.

    Infinite growth on a finite planet. No problem! We’ll discover new sources of energy when the present ones run out.

    Infinite growth on a finite planet. No problem! We’ll find new planets to live on.

    Infinite growth on a finite planet. No problem! Well find a way to make artificial trees that will take CO2 out of the atmosphere.

    Infinite growth on a finite planet. No problem! Well find a way to feed people using seaweed and sawdust.

    And so it goes on. And on. And on. Taking us ever closer to the point at which the entire fabric of the system collapses from lack of energy, lack of environmental stability, and debts and deficits that are completely out of control…remembering that a debt is a promise to pay in the future because we cannot pay now, and is predicated on there being MORE resources available in the future than now!

    The energetic, environmental, financial and social debts already incurred are staggering. And the PMCs you have referred to will attempt to increase all of them over the next three years.

    I personally believe the [globalised, capitalist] system is on its last legs as a consequence of all the crucial factors having been ignored for decades, and do not anticipate current economic arrangements lasting to the end if this parliamentary term.

    If, by some miracle, the system hasn’t collapsed by 2023, we can be certain that everything that matters will be in a far worse state than now, as a consequence of the failure of the government to govern in the best interests of the people.

    In all likelihood, three years from now the top 1% will be wealthier than ever (financially), whilst the rest of us will be further impoverished. Only a pitchforks revolution would prevent that being the case. And I see no indication of a pitchforks revolution in NZ.

      • Indeed I am familiar with NB, and know Guy personally.

        Unfortunately he lost the plot in 2016, and started making pronouncements that had no scientific basis, and when challenged got really shitty with me.

        Whilst I can accept collapse of large portions of industrial civilisation by 2026, I believe it will take until the 2040s for the Earth to rendered uninhabitable for humans [by humans], simply because the oceans are so huge and have such a high thermal mass they cannot increase in temperature by several degrees in less than a decade.

        The commercial sector is shaking itself to pieces as I write:

        https://www.interest.co.nz/news/108130/worrying-us-data-released-ahead-thanksgiving-holiday-china-raises-regulatory-pressure

        And the Kiwi dollar has broken trough 70 cents, as expected.

      • Agree Tony, National with Judith at the helm are way more in touch than the PMC of Labour and the Greens and that is why Judith can hardly keep a ‘straight face.’

        National are way more in touch with working people, who want less taxes, less regulation and chucking out the RMA so New Zealand can bring down the price of houses for good Kiwi families.

        Now that the Covid virus is under control with vaccinations, the Covid emergency is fixed. Getting rid of the RMA and Labour/Greens will put New Zealand on the Right Track.

  2. “Without the PMC army of lawyers, probation officers, social workers, health professionals, teachers, journalists and “communications specialists” to extinguish the fires ignited constantly by economic exploitation and social exclusion, the whole of capitalist society would soon be engulfed in flames.

    The PMC is what you create when the price of relying exclusively upon police officers, judges, jailers and soldiers to keep the bottom half under control grows too high.”
    /agreed

    …….. and it’s now grown too high as it has elsewhere in the Whurl. End result inevitably as the ‘plebs’ get restless is the rise of the populist little fascist ‘leader’ seizing on any piece of bullshit they can in pursuit of power. (See-more waits in the wings).

    It’s interesting how removed from reality the “PMC” can become too. The Spinoff has an article on “Why Couldn’t it happen here? https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/25-11-2020/why-couldnt-it-happen-here/
    in which that thoroughly reasonable chap Andrew Geddis thinks the senior ranks of our public service are impartial. Maybe Geddis and the bureaucrats think they are. I’m sure they do – trapped as they are in a system bound by a structure and culture based on what has now become traditional thinking. Stepping outside of it, and getting down with the plebs is too hard an ask.
    That “bottom half” gets too big; the natives get restless and lose faith in the bureaucrats, institutions of state and the pollies – and voila: See-mores, Billy TKs and any other drip around looking to advance his/her ego.

    Cudda Shudda Wudda

    • It’s not often that persons from the senior ranks of the public service, or from the top of their own professions do enter politics. I’d also hesitate to call an estate agent a professional person (sorry about that), ditto a red-face whose working life has been confined to the family business. I rather think that if Geddis had worked in a govt dept he might appreciate the dynamics more, but even in the universities now, rank and file academics,
      are constrained in what they may feel free to say outside of their own discipline.

      As a single self-supporting elderly heterosexual female, I think the Greens hopeless dubbing a young gay Mexican immigrant guy as representing my interests, there’s too much of a disconnect there – that’s just a simple example of how the populace can be patronised by politicians who don’t know what they’re doing.

      Capitalism may be collapsing, but how democracy is structured and organised needs a radical rethink. There was a time this may have come from the universities, but probably not so now. If Labour had the guts, and the interests of all of the people at heart, they would enable or encourage, empowering workers’ unions for a start.
      But even at grass roots level, people of conscience can struggle with their insecure peers.

      Meantime the planet burns, while the politicians are busy admiring each other.

      • We’re in agreement on a number of things there @SW. After being in and out of the PS, pre and post the neo-liberal ‘nirvana’, then in IT in the banking sector, and then briefly in academia, I could write a bloody book about the differences.

        The lost opportunities, the stupidity of doing certain things (everything from selling off government buildings to the theoreticals of management practices to the commodification of everything from education to people) never ceases to amaze me.

        As for Geddis – maybe he hasn’t noticed Immigration NuZull/The Munstry of Everything, Krekshuns, MSD, OT and a number of others are still playing silly buggers.
        He might need to get out of Von Zedlitz, or wherever the hell he is for a bit – although I wouldn’t recommend his doing a John Jonassen who might end up struggling to get a job as a rent-a-voice on MSM.
        Such is the life of a PMC trapped in the cistern. My heart bleeds!

        • Don’t write a bloody book, Tim. Put the PS stuff into short stories, I did. You have to see it as comical to retain your sanity. If I could, I would get my PS stint hypnotised out of me, but I am non-hypnotisable, and don’t fancy a prefrontal lobotomy.

          Academia can be a glorious intellectual wallowing, so hang onto your contacts from there and ignore the uni bashers – failed Hons students from the back blocks, trust me. Time was, anyone with a good Hons degree in any subject could walk straight into job in Treasury, and that was even worse – cockies from Dipton flogging the family silver or brasher types bleating about Maori privilege or aging would-be studs chasing Act devotees over Parliament grounds without even a full moon in sight. The vice-chancellors could provide good material for Peter Jackson splatter movies. Don’t like him either.

          And at the bottom, people hurting, and children homeless, and politicians stunningly craven when it comes to doing the job they’re paid to. Anyone I wouldn’t want as a next-door neighbour, shouldn’t be in Parliament – not a bad starting point.

      • Oh, and btw – if you take the example of TPK (sometimes known as the ‘Colonial Office” by more than a few – maybe not so much these days), flitting out of the PS to being a polly – one was almost a prerequisite for the other. Why not though eh? Might even end in a knighthood or some other cargo cult treat or trinket. There’s at least one in OT at the mo’ hoping – staunchly loyal to the Grainy Moss.

    • Seymour is no populist, he’s a liberal in the truer sense of the world.
      He’s also a defender of the rights of the working class re ideological gun control.

      As George Orwell said:
      “The totalitarian states can do great things, but there is one thing they cannot do: they cannot give the factory-worker a rifle and tell him to take it home and keep it in his bedroom. That rifle, hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or laborer’s cottage, is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

      The Chardonnay set in power are actively attacking the working class and everything they stand for.

      • That is the populist twin track strategy-publicly “feel the pain of the Working class”, reinforce the passivity and disillusionment of the alienated, but never, ever intend to do anything about it!

        Seymour provides his own evidence of this-he opposes increasing the minimum wage to a living wage.

        • You just described the Labour government perfectly.

          I don’t subscribe to ACTs economic ideals, but they got the euthanasia referendum done and dusted with just one MP in opposition.

          That’s progressive.

          Labour introduced neoliberalism here, it’s their baby, they simply lie about where they stand.

      • One description of Populist: “a person who supports or seeks to appeal to the concerns of ordinary people: she is something of a populist—her views on immigration resemble those of the right-wing tabloid press.”

        Of course Seymour is the model populist. He plays in the populist sandpit talking about what will get him headlines. (Mind you just about anything he says gets covered because g=he was the ‘odd man out’ the different I=one.

        The upturned buckets in the sandpit hide all the heavy stuff that he doesn’t want to talk about because many won’t like it. Would you go to Epsom and talk about getting rid of school zoning or talk instead about opening bars at 4:00am so people could go there and watch World Cup Rugby?

        What would you talk about in the Deep South with National having a bad ride, ready to desert and ripe for the picking? Political reality, populism. They didn’t want people coming back into the country from India and Asia so there was a racist wave to ride. David would bring American billionaires into the region. Acceptable.

        He gets the ‘lovely little boy’ rap. He is the twerk jerk and a typical hypocritical conniving politician.

  3. The management class can ask why locals can’t find any work when they apply for the jobs in industries that now seem to be Ponzi’s for immigration.

    After 20 unsuccessful job applications Covid returnee wonders if she belongs in NZ
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/123507562/after-20-unsuccessful-job-applications-covid-returnee-wonders-if-she-belongs-in-nz

    She is told she is ‘overqualified’, maybe because they don’t want Kiwi’s who could complain if they find poor conditions for the residents and scams a foot in industries…

    Mr Heap also needs specials Thai workers to pick his courgettes.

    Covid-19: Families unable to see sick parents due to lack of space in isolation
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/123500560/covid19-families-unable-to-see-sick-parents-due-to-lack-of-space-in-isolation

    Race to the bottom. Adult migrant children do exactly what Kiwi’s do and leave NZ to find better wages if they are able to, leaving their pensioner parents in NZ.

    To solve NZ’s growing problem with a lack of skills, commentators needs to look at why so many skilled people leave NZ, and why replacing them with more satellite families is making everything worse as our ‘non or low income’ but high needs residents are ballooning.

    Apparently there is plenty of room for the Russian Fishers and more foreign workers/students coming to NZ, more houses and quarantine places please!

    • “Adult migrant children do exactly what Kiwi’s do and leave NZ to find better wages if they are able to, leaving their pensioner parents in NZ.”
      Exactery – which has been our main point of difference in the past. It’s worse though because some of those “pensioner parents” don’t even get a pension OR any means of state support (unless of course they’re in the military, or a bureaucrat, or a polly – in which case, they might even get a lifetime supply of whiskey and/or rum).
      It’s not the fault of the immigrant. “Ultimately”, it’s the fault of the fundamentally exploitative cistern – a cistern it seems, that the PMC are ‘comfortable’ with (in that space, going forward).
      And the ‘fullness of time’ is actually running out.

      • Yes but the difference is that the NZ pensioner parent has most likely paid taxes and lived in NZ most of their lives but the migrant pensioner don’t have to have paid any taxes in NZ at all and only lived here 5 – 10 years.

        That is why that NZ superannuation should be banned to migrants that can’t transfer the equivalent state pension to NZ, and they should be expected to supply their own private pension and private health/medical to live in NZ, for their entire lives.

        With only 2.7 million in work in NZ to pay for it all, and half of the workers are now receiving benefit top ups, because wages are declining in real terms, not sure why the NZ workers are expected to pay for their own pension with Kiwisaver while the migrant pensioners who don’t have to have worked in NZ, let alone paid the equivalent millions in taxes, get millions of NZ benefit for nothing.

        Must be why there are now more Asian pensioners in NZ than Maori and Pacific Island pensioners combined.

        Any migrant pensioner can come to NZ, only takes 4 years and you just need to ‘invest’ 1 million aka buy a house/cafe in Auckland! Then pension, health care, public transport, power payments (plus Aged care, dementia care is all free if you plan your tax planning or are ‘poor’).

        Worldwide pensioners just come and reside in NZ, and if anything goes wrong, then NZ health system will help you.

        Visas available.

        Parent Retirement Resident Visa
        If you have an adult child who is a New Zealand citizen or resident, you can apply to live in New Zealand permanently. You’ll need an annual income of NZ $60,000 plus NZ $1 million to invest for 4 years, and another NZ $500,000 to live on. Once you’ve completed the 4-year investment period, you’ll be eligible for permanent residence.

        Parent Resident Visa
        If you have an adult New Zealand citizen or resident child who earns enough and agrees to sponsor you, you may be able to live in New Zealand permanently. You need to send us an expression of interest explaining how you meet the requirements and be sponsored by your child, or your child and their partner, and we may invite you to apply for residence.

        Parent and Grandparent Visitor Visa
        Parents and grandparents can visit family in New Zealand, multiple times on the same visa. You must be visiting your New Zealand citizen or resident children or grandchildren. While you’re here, you can enjoy New Zealand’s scenery, adventure, culture, and friendly people.

        https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/options/join-family/all-family-visasd

        Sponsor in more love interests if you get lonely!
        https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/376220/10k-11-days-and-one-failed-deportation

  4. Idiot yet Intellectual class, booming in NZ. (In NZ they are not even intellectual class, normally just idiots spouting industry propaganda… but always think they are right!)

    “IYIs [Intellectual Yet Idiot] fail to distinguish between the letter and the spirit of things. They are so blinded by verbalistic notions such as science, education, democracy, racism, equality, evidence, rationality and similar buzzwords that they can be easily taken for a ride. They can thus cause monstrous iatrogenics without even feeling a shade of a guilt, because they are convinced that they mean well and that they can be thus justified to ignore the deep effect on reality.

    What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think… and 5) who to vote for.

    But the problem is the one-eyed following the blind: these self-described members of the “intelligentsia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.

    Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats who feel entitled to run our lives aren’t even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking.”

  5. Chris Trotter’s PMC is a section of Piketty’s Brahmin Left, which also includes NGOs and other organisations dependent on the government.

    Another way of describing the PMC is that it is ‘civil society’ – middle class professionals managing the lives of the poor.

  6. Beautiful piece, describes in a few paragraphs the modus operandi of neo liberal managerialism, capitalism, and the reasoning underlying the NZ Parliamentary neo liberal consensus and its 36 year hegemony.

    I smiled when I read “Employees who no longer fear the sack are capitalism’s worst nightmare.” Bill Andersen, a working class leader steeled in the 1951 Waterfront lockout, and active for decades later, used to frown on home ownership for the working class via mortgage. He felt a protected state house tenancy would foster militantcy, where once under the Banks thumb for 30 years, truck drivers would be way less likely to take extended strike action–and he was right!

    Anyway it would be good to see The Daily Blog readers and posters come up with some ideas for action as well as re-describing the bind the working class is in with this unencumbered, majority Labour Govt.–though many are still processing it perhaps–“but, but, but…why won’t they raise benefits before xmas?” The NZ Labour Caucus is clearly hostile to the bottom 50% and it is time people accepted and confronted that.

    My suggestion is an extra Parliamentary opposition and community organising focus, incorporating the now 70 odd NGOs supporting the “letter to Jacinda”. Even NZCTU affiliates might come on board when they discover their coveted Fair Pay Agreements are unlikely to ever be enacted, or enacted ineffectively in name only.

    A campaign, including organising and direct action needs to run all the way to 2023 calling for smashing the Parliamentary neoliberal consensus among the main parties. Sure, some groups will likely drop out or not support every initiative, but it is certainly worth attempting. The alternative is passivity of the left as per the Clark years, and the creation of a vacuum that Billy TK MkII and ACT will be only to pleased to fill!

    • “ Some ideas for action” : A rethink of the system of political parties. Embryonic parliamentary democracy didn’t feature parties, these were formed in Parliament, post election. I thought MMP would bring something akin to this. I got it wrong.

      In a country with a small population, it could be relatively easy to do; the main downside could be
      resourcing independent individuals or interest groupings – not insurmountable – inspired individuals can be a mighty force.

  7. A party without soul or any vision of a better future for all, all New Zealnders not just the propertied and well orf. That sees the economy as a sort of game that just needs tinkering with the settings rather than radical reform. A soulless bunch of rational safe bureaucrats. That lives in the comfortable warm sea of neoliberal certainty that hands off works. A party that makes me want to vomit! A party that believes in nothing accept the same old the same old. Rationality and banality is their dead soul with slavish sunservience to business and the F.I.R.E sector. A waste of space!

  8. “Without the PMC army of lawyers, probation officers, social workers, health professionals, teachers, journalists and “communications specialists” to extinguish the fires ignited constantly by economic exploitation and social exclusion, the whole of capitalist society would soon be engulfed in flames”.

    Ain’t that the truth Chris. The metaphor of war and destruction is powerful. And its consequences real enough. More to the point, the revelation of a growing PMC monoculture is hardly new, but it is timely to be reminded. As Bryce Edwards points out in the link, (in AO/NZ, but probably much the same elsewhere) lawyers are over-represented, almost everyone has a “professional” background, and the days of working-class representation are over. Well done on picking up on this. Good intentions may preside, empathy may be aspirational but they are hardly a substitute for lived experience.

    What I find disturbing though is the implication that the PMC army outside of politics – consisting of lawyers, social workers, health professionals, teachers, journalists, or otherwise from the professional-managerial class are in some way complicit in supporting global capitalist society (not only in little ol’ AO/NZ); the handmaidens of their masters. That claim would be quite challenging for some, especially those from the professional class committed to doing ‘good’ work. Do “we” not all share the burden? Are we not all complicit in supporting the current system through “our” collective and individual behaviour? IMHO I think the issues lie more specifically with the infiltration of new public management (NPM) into the public sector in order to instil market-like competition and make efficiency gains. Those now in government – the PMC class – knowingly or unknowingly incorporate these neoliberal tenets into their decision-making virtue of their lived experience prior to entering public service. And let’s face it, neoliberalism lives on in the corridors of power. Lived experience is for most MPs these days narrow and privileged, empathy while well-intentioned is subjugated to performance and in an environment where neoliberalism is still very much present, reflexivity (as sociologists would define it) is rare.

    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/
    reflexivity
    /rɪ.fleksˈɪv.ə.ti/
    the fact of someone being able to examine his or her own feelings, reactions, and motives (= reasons for acting) and how these influence what he or she does or thinks in a situation

  9. Why invent a new term PMC for the one that was always in play – the labour bureaucracy? Occam’s razor says the latter explains the former.

    The LB already covers the territory. Born of the Labour movement but elevating itself above it as an ally of the petty bourgeoisie, the most dangerous class of all.

    While the LB is not a “class” its politics aligns it with petty bourgeois. It may invest in houses or shares but that is not an indicator of class, but of its main interest which is the rewards of its bureaucratic role.

    That role is to manage the bourgeois state on behalf of the bourgeoisie.
    It cannot declare itself a class because it serves the bourgeoisie, along with the bourgeois intellectuals to denying the existence of class.

    Its associations with the petty bourgeois who do own small businesses and have no other political horizon than the envy of the true capitalist, should not confuse us.

    It is the equivalent of the Stalinist bureaucracy that lives off the working class in the service of the capitalist class.

    Edwards should know this as he was a sort of Marxist in his youth.

    But of course by inventing a new PM class he muddles the puddle, and keeps alive the ideology that the state is class neutral, that is independent, exactly the objective of those who resist the idea that the state is partisan, serves the interests of the bourgeoisie, buy managing the social relations of exploitation.

    If the state is class neutral then its independence can’t be challenged.

    Marxists who have pointed out for nearly two centuries that the state is bourgeois, that it reproduces capitalism at the expense of workers, are dismissed when insisting on class analysis based on social relations of production.

    Even MMT which is hardly Marxist is ruled out of court when it claims that sovereign debt does not need to be paid back and can be used as a route to democratic socialism.

    The reason that the Labour Government cannot fundamentally serve the interests of workers now, or in its whole history, is that it has to put profits before workers, or its license to practice treacherous politics will be cancelled.

    So the labour bureaucracy has a lot to answer for and it will in time when the working class smashes the bourgeois state and builds it own workers’ state.

    • Well Dave, many “pundits” have observed that if, and once, the NZ Labour Party did not have cover via NZ First and Greens in Govt., then their true ideological position would be revealed for all to see. For the small number of seasoned politics followers with a class analysis of course, there was nothing much to see at all!–NZ Labour’s class collaborationist approach to the bourgeois Parliament is well known, and anti democratic–when Labour is in office the Caucus rules, the Labour members such as remain, take a back seat.

      “when the working class smashes the bourgeois state and builds it own workers’ state” As someone with a Marxist world view from the late 70s to this day, I agree with that, but how that will come about that must be addressed, otherwise it remains but a call to arms that any group or individual could make. It is pointless to describe the problems of individualist psychology, neo liberal hegemony, that some academics ascribe to the “atomisation” of the working class, without a lot of thought and ideas as to what to do about it.

      NZ is still suffering mightily from post colonial fall out, and the actions of International capital and Finance Capital. We have hundreds of thousands of aspirational small business people and self employed, that identify with the “be your own Boss” ethos while mortgaged up to their eyeballs, workers that are designated contractors, a large lumpen proletariat courtesy of neo liberal capitalism and on it goes. Arm ‘the workers’ at the moment and they would likely shoot lefties rather than the 1%ers. So there needs to be another stage of struggle, and it likely is burying neo liberalism, which brings into stark relief–private ownership.

      Now I am not saying because it is difficult, that it is hopeless, I am addressing the relationship between needed reforms and reformism as a sell out ideology. For a few weeks of Level 4 Lockdown the PM put the people before capital and likely saved thousands of lives–and many rightly appreciated her for that, (yes saving their own skins!) with a nasty side order of “Covid” capitalism of course via billions in bailouts to bosses, and two tier welfare payments. The thing is capitalism was mildy challenged and now there needs to be community organisation and a strong challenge mounted.

      • TM – Workers, incl tradies, designated contractors, or now forced into being contractors, are rendered effectively powerless by being as fragmented as e.g.pre-industrial revolution cottage industries; some organised themselves into skilled and semi-skilled craftsmen’s guilds, or underground political movements, but the nature of post- modern society, and the naked materialistic basis upon which we are now built, renders this unlikely here. The ironic thing is that many of them possess practical skills and talents and a necessary work ethic, which no random handful of politicians are ever likely to.

        Something like an apocalypse, or a global IT catastrophe, could catapult the doers into the decision making processes, and leave the effete charlatans free to meander off to wherever elephants go to die. This could happen, given that climate change is impacting
        right now, and that there are unknowns ahead, whatever the commentariate may care to think.

      • G’day Tiger,

        We can’t hold out for any reforms in the age of global state monopoly capitalism collapsing in terminal crisis as the economy crashes and the climate burns up.

        Increasing the deficit (GFC, Covid, and global slump) to bail out bosses has to be paid for by workers. All funny money solutions based on deficit spending (Keynes, MMT, Social Credit) are always paid for by increasing the exploitation and misery of workers.

        We must fight to defend all past gains and demand more for our survival, like shutting down the fossil fuel industry, big ag, etc but at the same time we have to point out that only a workers’ and working farmers’ government can deliver them.

        Therefore:

        Concrete steps for me are:
        – workers build their own independent labour party, stand for elections to propagandise and expose parliament as a dead end, and rally workers in their own defence outside parliament, against paying for the bosses crises, pandemics and wars etc.
        – that party has to be based on fighting, democratic unions that go beyond syndicalism and organise strikes and occupations. One Union may be a model as it is outside the leg iron of the labour law, as long as it is run by the ranks.
        – build workers councils and workers defence squads against cops and fascists, and as the democratic base for a workers government.
        – Raise a program for jobs for all, union rates, free health, education and housing, that will develop into a socialist movement for taking power from the parasites who live off our labour.

        Much more where that came from.

        • Not true. You have absolutely no idea how Social Credit policies work or what they say. No clue at all. How do you think new money comes into existence now? Do you even know? It is the present system that exploits the populace, especially the poorer workers. Both the rich and poor would be better off on a Social Credit system.

  10. In fact it is looking like NZ is becoming more idiot than intellectual…

    “The number of teenagers leaving school with no qualification rose for the second consecutive year in 2019 with boys and Māori worst affected, Education Ministry figures show.”
    “The figures showed nearly half, 3689, were Pākehā, and 3285 were Māori.”
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/431226/the-trend-is-of-concern-school-leavers-with-no-qualifications-rises

    Government knew 20% of students were failing in 2017 and our results were getting worse.
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/431226/the-trend-is-of-concern-school-leavers-with-no-qualifications-rises

    The reasons for this alarming statistic is varied, historical and made up of many parts. Legacy of Rogernomics paid for tertiary education and the rise of International students studying in NZ taking priority for governments and schools. In particular government budgets for education is all about increasing the amount of construction of schools for more students from new residents numbers, rather than actually on educating the actual students themselves. Education as an export in NZ, has somehow become more important that the actual role of educating.

    Another issue, is the woke/right wingers are making teachers/principals/schools personally responsible for students safety and woke safety concerns becoming all consuming in schools and budgets, rather than educating students. Sadly kids have accidents at school, unless there is gross negligence on behalf of an individual, that should be the end of the matter, not decades of paperwork.

    Meanwhile business can do no wrong. Truancy/Absence (very convenient to blame the kids/families rather than government policies) is being sited as a reason for lower performance (but why are kids more absent in the past decade?) , apparently now it’s the parents fault when a child is killed on their own driveway coming back from school and Worksafe fails to interview the truck driver! https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/112696703/inquest-hears-that-sensor-may-have-saved-girl-killed-by-rubbish-truck

    Government having advertising campaigns laughing about 30 yo’s living at home with a degree, and our anti intellectualism is part of NZ’s big problem as well!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHjQAf9QUfY

    Calling NZ youth lazy, unreliable and drugged out is a NZ politicians/industry national sport. Why bother to work, local workers are not required in NZ according to most of the industry, government and media. https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/123507562/after-20-unsuccessful-job-applications-covid-returnee-wonders-if-she-belongs-in-nz https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/121961383/oil-rig-workers-claim-unfair-treatment-in-a-system-rotten-to-the-core

    Apparently picking corgettes is so difficult it requires specific Thai workers.

    Why bother trying to get higher education, bother going to primary/secondary school, or take a manual job as a school leaver or part time student job? That has been the big message for modern Gen Y & Z as increasingly a benefit is more secure than a job in NZ.

    • @saveNZ: It might be a little unfair to label school leavers without NCEA quals as idiots. Rhetorical I suspect but language matters. As you indeed note, the reasons are varied, historical and made up of many parts. In a word, complex. Academic “success” is poorly understood, whether in compulsory education and measured by NCEA achievement or in tertiary settings. One may be tempted to quantify it, say, as the numbers who “do not complete” without taking into consideration the full back story. What that back story may look like is a) what the student brings in terms of abilities, motivation, investment in learning, etc b) what the institution offers in terms of support c) the perceived relevance of the curriculum including all that stuff like affirmation of students’ identities and the recognition of (un)conscious bias c) externalities such as poor health, teenage pregnancy and poverty. These ideas come from Nick Zepke’s book, Student Engagement in Neoliberal Times, but he is not alone.

      https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789811031984

      So academic success, whatever the institutional context, is not just a cognitive matter associated with the intellect. Another point I would make is that learning is lifelong (and lifewide). We all know this. All the more reason not to buy into deficit discourses disseminated by the MSM.

      • @Bozo, My concern is that in NZ increasingly those who leave school without basic literacy and numeracy (aka many in NZ are not even on the ‘basic’ scale as 10 yo’s) will struggle through life and end up being in bad situations and lack of choice, aka huge percentage of those in prison are those who lack basic literacy.

        I’m not suggesting those kids who fail are ‘idiots’ (in fact the premise of idiot yet intellectual is the opposite aka those who are highly educated are somehow coming out as the idiots of modern times not the uneducated) but do think that when ‘poor’ Cuba manages to get one of the highest literacy rates in the world and has so many doctors they export them, NZ is somehow going wrong by putting their efforts into construction of schools and a narrow view of education (the arts are less important than picking a courgette or being an accountant, education is about money and jobs not for it’s own sake) rather than the actual students learning critical thinking and life long skills of learning.

        • Apologies. I have read you wrong. I now understand you don’t mean failure at school equates to idiocy. Much I agree with in fact. The focus on learning for earning for example, at the expense of eg civics education. I recall reading a guest blog on TDB on the value of this. Learning for earning was the neoliberal mantra turn of the millenia – a narrow interpretation of Blair’s “education, education, education”, adopted by Labour and National alike. and is still prevelant in educational thinking, hence the continued focus on STEM. Not to say that STEM is not important, just to suggest that education needs a critical component, So in full agreement there. By learning for earning I don’t neccesarily mean vocational education and training. More related to the ideological purpose of education. So yes, critical thinking is generally lacking from the learning for earning view of education – although here I suspect many teachers might contest this.

          IMHO one has to be careful though in talking about “basic literacy”. Literacy is a contestable term. A few thoughts on how literacy is viewed:
          1) reading skills (primarily) – as measured quantitively using standarized and decontextualised tests, often pen-and-paper but increasingly mediated through technology. Examples might be the OECD PISA for teenagers used in compulsory education, which regularly makes its way into both policy and MSM discourses to praise or deride the state of affairs, but often to highlight the literacy “crisis”. Seen in Marxian terms literacy here has an exchange-value, where the skills (and resulting qualifications) are exchanged for prize jobs
          2) literacy as a set of situated social practices, the sort of literacy people use to get things done in their lives. Example: reading a set of instructions to assemble something. In Marxian terms, this kind of literacy has use-value
          3) ‘new’ screen-based literacies motivated through digital technologies- it is quite surprising that many who are deemed skills-challenged have no problems negotiating these new spaces
          4) critical literacy, ie. in Freirian terms, not only reading the word but reading the world. I suspect Cuba is big on this notion of literacy. Not sure how they do on the PISA test (not that it is valid)

          All too often the focus in OECD countries is on “literacy as skills”. What can be measured ends up as the default understanding, directing common sense notions as well as policy decisions. In neoliberal understandings literacy skills are equated with the attainment of qualifactions, the knowledge society, and so on. A lack of skills – oh dear, society is falling apart and is uncompetitive. Unconditionally accepting the skills argument leads to a slippery slope. Skills are to be sure part of the picture but they get all the focus and are accorded ‘consequences’ with little or no evidence to support the claims. But even here we seem to be in agreement: education and by implication, literacy, should not be sloely about money and jobs for their own sake but about critical thinking and life long skills of learning. Zepke calls this a cosmopolitan view of education predicated on becoming a participant in civil society.

    • The purpose of state education has always been to provide pupils/students with sufficient knowledge and skills to make them useful to the empire whilst ensuring they do not acquire the knowledge and skills that would make them a threat to the empire.

      In recent times education has also been morphed into an additional money stream for the moneylenders via the creation of student loans out of thin air and the charging of high interest rates on those loans.

      Also, in recent times schools have become indoctrination centres and profit centres for corporations at an earlier stage in life than for previous generations, i.e. under-fives. In addition to establishing yet more profit centres, this aspect provides a mass child-minding system that enables young mothers to get back into the factories and offices, and create extra profits for companies.

      Class sizes have always been too big; resources have always been too rationed; these days academic standards are so watered down as to be near-useless.

      Many people go on to achieve high levels of knowledge and skill despite the obstacles put in their way by the education system.

  11. he huge and accelerating and growth in inequality is neither natural, inevitable or accidental ,,, it’s engineered.

    “when your paying for something ,,,,you’re not paying money ,,, you’re paying with the hours of your life you had to spend earning that money.” -Jose Mujica

    New Zealands economic ‘system’,,,, where workers pay / remuneration has become divorced from the money needed for home ownership or rental costs ,,, is the direct result of Government policy attacking it’s citizens and our society,,, especially the future of our young.

    This 5 eyes cancer harming workers while poisoning the world ,, Duplicated in all our white english speaking countries and spreading worldwide … is Economic slavery for the honest and average ,,, with even worse hardship misery and homelessness for the poor,,,

    “keep moving” backwards to a third world future, or forward to a dickenson past

    The new rules based and legal form of discrimination is economic apartheid,,, laws need to be reformed towards the cause of justice ,,,, and away away from greed and exploitation.

    It does not require a revolution to change things ,,, just genuine desire to be humane and civilized by those in leadership ,, a choice between utilizing our human attributes of problem solving ,,,, versus the ideology of proven failure. By design.

    It’s well past time to make the changes to the little bits of papers we call laws and regulations ,,, reverse the harmful changes that built a system more rotten than Margret Thatchers stinking corpse.

    Our politics is presently like a Dorian Gray painting ,,, the artists from the school of propaganda as news… frame it as kind and wonderful image.

    The kinder face of evil looks very ugly in comparison to the beauty of this grouchy looking old man. https://youtu.be/4GX6a2WEA1Q

    Legacy Of The World’s Most Selfless President (2014) https://youtu.be/l-RdJsY13Fo

    If telling the truth is a crime ,,,, then we are ruled by criminals

    Are we there yet ?
    Andy Worthington on Guantanamo Bay and WikiLeaks with Richard Medhurst – https://youtu.be/_wmBqaimwrc

    • +1 In Vino
      Some defenders have valiantly pointed out that Parliament has only just resumed, and how can we expect change so soon, but the insipid rhetoric from our PM & Finance Minister indicates the will for legislative change simply is not there.
      Daily Bloggers are all in agreement. Another right-of-centre do nothing govt. is useless – doesn’t matter if it’s blue or red.
      So where to from here? I think Tiger Mountain is on to it: “extra Parliamentary opposition and community organising focus, incorporating the now 70 odd NGOs supporting the “letter to Jacinda”. Even NZCTU affiliates might come on board…..”
      The union movement’s blind ongoing support of the Labour Party has to come under the microscope.

  12. A good insightful piece of writing, which goes a long way toward explaining why the liberal-worker allegiance of the 70s would be hard to reinstate – at a political level their interests not only don’t coincide any more, they now tend to be antithetical to each other. Just as an earlier PMC class depended in large part, directly or indirectly, on a culture based in farming and manufacturing, they now depend in large part on an eternally debased working class – ever more problems with them must be found and addressed, ever more variations on the 19th century “We must stop them from keeping their coal in the bath”, “Gin is the curse of the working class” etc. asserted. Does anyone else wonder why “wrap around care” is so regularly advocated, as if about a third of the population were too deranged to be entrusted with their own lives? A confident, empowered working class would put paid to many of these roles, which is one of the reasons why populism is met with such hostility.

    As Tiger Mountain notes, there are still unions, & not all GNO’s are wholly won over to team PMC. I think the way forward depends on strengthening working class confidence, and learning to tell the difference between actual allies and sympathisers whose interests depend on working class subservience. Internationally the political poles are shifting from right versus left to managerialism versus populism. One thing the left can learn from the right on the populism front is to accept working class people as they are, rather than treat them as raw material that will be OK once they have been made to fit in with middleclass tastes and values.

  13. This has long been the case: Left of centre parties haven’t represented the working class for decades.

    Today’s Labour movement is infested with woke arts & sociology graduates who have a facial piercing and a fat little family trust to fall back on.

    In a strange way it is reflective of the origins of the left. Marx himself was typical of the breed. Born into the gentry, he squandered his family’s fortune and continually sponged off his friends, leaving his wife destitute and fending for herself and her children.

    The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  14. David Graeber has pointed out, in his book ‘Bullshit Jobs’, that whereas until the 70s a share in the fruits of productivity increases was passed on to the workers in the form of higher wages, since the 70s wages have stagnated, while those benefits have passed in part to the 1% but have mainly served to increase the administrative overhead. He also thinks that much of these new admin jobs are largely superfluous and could easily be dispensed with without any disadvantage to society.

    • +1 mikesh – like it

      “Bullshit Jobs: A Theory is a 2018 book by anthropologist David Graeber that argues for the existence and societal harm of meaningless jobs. He contends that over half of societal work is pointless, which becomes psychologically destructive when paired with a work ethic that associates work with self-worth. Graeber describes five types of meaningless jobs, in which workers pretend their role is not as pointless or harmful as they know it to be: flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters. He argues that the association of labor with virtuous suffering is recent in human history, and proposes universal basic income as a potential solution.”

      I’d go further and feel that those who want to get things done and best at their jobs are threatening to the Bullshit job mentality, are the first to lose their jobs.

      Classic movie “office space’ what led up to where we are now.

  15. Although it has expanded enormously in recent decades, the PMC (it would be more accurate to describe it as a caste rather than a class), it is not a new phenomenon. Back in 1922 the Communist International explained the weakness of its new French Section by the fact that its leading layers were still lawyers and parliamentarians from the old Socialist Party.

    Reporting to the Fourth Congress of the International on this question, Leon Trotsky said “They must be removed…That is why we have adopted the strict guideline that nine out of ten elected posts available to the Party should be filled by workers – not workers who have become party staffers, but workers who are still labouring in the factory or the field.”

    One wonders how the wonderfully diverse caucus of our present Labour Party who react to such a proposal.

  16. Well I always know when the cab sav bit me when I’m up all night listenin’ to sea shanty’s and the Pogues,- and such was last night. But reading this excellent article , through the fog and the haze,…I can only marvel.

    It is one of a long string of your best.

    I have no gripe against ‘capitalism’ per se’,… so long as it is a regulated capitalism, such as we had pre 1984 , and a little as the Scandinavians maintain today. The old time Keynesian economics which served us all so well. It is the capitalism on steroids I have a problem with. That out of control simplistic economic ideology of the neo liberals.

    There is no need for bloody revolutions or even food / rent riots down Auckland’s Queen St,- whereby the only ones who suffer are the people demonstrating with injury and arrest,…no ,… a better way would be a national day of protest against neo liberalism on a Saturday in all major centers. Which is exercising the publics right to peaceful assembly and to protest. Held bi monthly for a year. And for the movement to grow as people become familiar with concepts long forgotten and never heard of by a younger generation. Just an idea, nothing more.

    This is where educators such as yourself, Chris, … are at a premium. And others like Prof Jane Kelsey. Matt McCarten. There is actually quite the list of vital people to guide and direct among us…but it needs somehow to move from the blog, the seminar, the union hall and out into the public gaze, to become part of the daily vernacular, enough so that it starts, as repetition does, to inspire questions and inquiry as to just what its all about.

    Who knows?… to the absolute horror and mortification of the established PMC, they may at last be confronted with their own shit and be forced to withdraw their forces from the field.

    And if you’ve never listened or liked Irish music, – its about time you did. I’ll leave you with a bit.

    —————

    The Pogues – Boys From The County Hell
    https://youtu.be/w2M7snEx1zs?t=139

    On the first day of March it was raining
    It was raining worse than anything that I have ever seen
    I drank ten pints of beer and I cursed all the people there
    I wish that all this rain would stop falling down on me

    And it’s lend me ten pounds, I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    At the time I was working for a landlord
    And he was the meanest bastard that you have ever seen
    And to lose a single penny would grieve him awful sore
    And he was a miserable bollocks and a bitch’s bastard’s whore

    And it’s lend me ten pounds, I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    I recall that we took care of him one Sunday
    We got him out the back and we broke his fucking balls
    And maybe that was dreaming and maybe that was real
    But all I know is I left the place without a penny or fuckall

    And it’s lend me ten pounds, I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    But now I’ve the most charming of verandahs
    I sit and watch the junkies, the drunks, the pimps, the whores
    Five green bottles sitting on the floor
    I wish to Christ, I wish to Christ
    That I had fifteen more

    And it’s lend me ten pounds, I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    And it’s lend me ten pounds, I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    The boys and me are drunk and looking for you
    We’ll eat your frigging entrails and we won’t give a damn
    Me daddy was a blue shirt and my mother a madam
    And my brother earned his medals at My Lai in Vietnam

    And it’s lend me ten pounds and I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    On the first day of March it was raining
    It was raining worse than anything that I have ever seen
    Stay on the other side of the road
    ‘Cause you can never tell
    We’ve a thirst like a gang of devils
    We’re the boys from the county hell

    And it’s lend me ten pounds and I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    And it’s lend me ten pounds and I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    And it’s lend me ten pounds, I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    But now I’ve the most charming of verandahs
    I sit and watch the junkies, the drunks, the pimps, the whores
    Five green bottles sitting on the floor
    I wish to Christ, I wish to Christ
    That I had fifteen more

    And it’s lend me ten pounds, I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    And it’s lend me ten pounds, I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    The boys and me are drunk and looking for you
    We’ll eat your frigging entrails and we won’t give a damn
    Me daddy was a blue shirt and my mother a madam
    And my brother earned his medals at My Lai in Vietnam

    And it’s lend me ten pounds and I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    On the first day of March it was raining
    It was raining worse than anything that I have ever seen
    Stay on the other side of the road
    ‘Cause you can never tell
    We’ve a thirst like a gang of devils
    We’re the boys from the county hell

    And it’s lend me ten pounds and I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

    And it’s lend me ten pounds and I’ll buy you a drink
    And mother wake me early in the morning

  17. If only the government would look at MMT – taking a share of the cheap money the RBG wants to vent through banks would reduce the property sector bubble. And it would afford so much more state house building, without pressure on the government accounts.

    And then there is MMT money to councils so they could do infrastructure without more debt – this wiould allow more house building (and some to end their drift towards the streets of 19thC London – aka Wellington).

    When borrowing is cheap as this, MMT is not going to be inflationary – but the debt would be a future burden all the same. So why stay with the neo-liberal regime’s constraint on “socialist” government?

    We do have the MW likely to go from $20 1 April 2021 to to $23 by 1 April 2024 (passing the current LW at $22.10 – but who knows where that will go if rent keeps going up). And also expansion of LW government work pay and industry awards – for mine I hope this includes more universal fair wage and work conditions (for example people being required to work shifts to gain employment is coercion for the convenience of the employer).

    And a real boost to oversight of corruption in the workplace – as to worker exploitation. Migrant workers are of course the canary in the goldmine there. Preferred because they are see themselves as vulnerable if they complain.

  18. Now along with the PMC’s stock in trade smarmy mercenary usage of various groups to justify their existence are the doctors, nurses, NGO’s and churches who, … due to their spiritual / humanitarian tendency’s,.. are loathe to see other people suffer.

    These are prime material to be used and utilized by the neo liberal. As they were used in 19th century England to take the heat off the diabolical conditions during the Industrial Revolution in London’s East End, and further aboard, – the disgusting rascist and abusive treatment of people of colour,- particularly of the East India Trading Company among others…

    This is how these loathsome individuals operate,….certainly since time began and definitely since the formation of the ‘British Empire’. Rome taught them all too well and the lessons were successfully passed down from generation to generation.

    At the one hand, touting the virtues of the division of state and religion, – but always holding their hands out for the church and medical people to step up and fill the void when required.

    The original bludgers.

    My brother in law has just completed a full day working for the Salvation Army , up at 07.30 am, finishing at around 17.00pm, and out again arriving home at approx 22.30pm after picking up and delivering from supermarkets to food banks.

    It is entirely voluntary work.

    Unpaid.

    Can you imagine, … indeed can you perceive , ….if all this huge voluntary army, along with the nurses and the doctors and the NGO’s,… decided to go on strike for a month? Think about it.

    Have a good think about it all you neo liberal CUNTS.

    Is this what you do?

    LEECH your way through life by sucking on the goodwill of your society’s TIT?

    So what is it?

    Division of state from religion whereby the STATE undertakes the responsibility for the very conditions they themselves set up and never dared to share with the great unwashed? … or whereby the STATE relies on the earlier and more primitive bludging, leeching 19th century model of philanthropists and the Church to do the job they were bloody well elected to do in Westminster?

    So which is it?

    Answer me if you dare.

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