Inequality and Economic Nationalism – 2 byproducts of the pandemic

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Inequality…

‘There’s something really wrong here’: Graeme Hart’s huge pandemic gain spurs call for wealth tax

New Zealand’s richest man, Graeme Hart, made $3.4 billion during the Covid-19 pandemic, reinforcing the urgent need for a wealth tax to help fix inequality, an Oxfam manager says.

Hart’s added wealth is revealed in a new Oxfam report which is part of wider research tracking global wealth.

The report concludes that a rigged economic system is enabling the super rich to grow their fortunes amidst the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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…and Economic Nationalism…

Covid 19 coronavirus: ‘Deeply concerned’ Jacinda Ardern calls EU’s vaccine export move ‘wrong’

European Union’s new controls on Covid-19 vaccine exports could mean there are not as many doses available in New Zealand.

The EU has introduced new rules and controls for vaccines made inside the EU and bound for countries outside the EU, including the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference yesterday that what the EU was doing was “wrong” and that she was “deeply concerned.”

“The world cannot afford vaccine nationalism right now,” she said.

…are two of the byproducts of the Pandemic that we urgently need to address.

Right now there are 22,000 desperate Kiwi’s waiting on social housing lists and 1 in 5 children live in poverty. Globally this type of inequality is spreading not decreasing.

  • In 2010, the 388 richest individuals owned more wealth than half of the entire human population on Earth
  • By 2015, this number was reduced to only 62 individuals
  • In 2018, it was 42
  • In 2019, it was down to only 26 individuals who own more wealth than 3.8 billion people.

This isn’t democracy, it’s fast becoming a feudal plutocracy!

The economic nationalism that Jacinda decries is a counter to the free market neoliberal settings her Government adores. Why have we allowed NZ to get to a position where we have no pharmaceutical industry whatsoever to do just the basics?

Labour refuses to acknowledge that climate change or the pandemic means an end to the free market mantras they mouth.

This pandemic is the death knell to free market mythology, it is growing inequality and it is demolishing a Nations capacity to protect the people.

We need new visions forwards, the neoliberal policy settings are too corrupted now.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. ‘the neoliberal policy settings are too corrupted now.’

    The neoliberal policy settings were corrupt from the outset.

    Decades of looting and polluting and exploitation gave the semblance of success for a while. But the ‘Titanic’ has been sinking for well over a decade, and the third-class passengers are drowning.

    Next comes the drowning of the second-class passengers. That’s when it starts to get really interesting.

    But please don’t expect Jacinda to be anything other than all mouth and no brains.

  2. The report concludes that a rigged economic system is enabling the super rich to grow their fortunes amidst the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s….

    Yep, buy up some old farm land, sell off your Auckland land for a bomb, pay media to advocate housing on the unboned farm land in the middle of nowhere, and bob’s your uncle you just made another enormous fortune aka Lord Sleepyhead… Meanwhile the media fawn as though you solved housing, instead of pointing out, maybe just pay your staff more so they can afford to live in Auckland, or actually give some of your vast wealth to the poor instead of exploiting the housing situation for private gain.

    Massive Sleepyhead development faces roadblocks from Waikato Regional Council
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/122521237/massive-sleepyhead-development-faces-roadblocks-from-waikato-regional-council

  3. Regardless of the right, our present government has been a shining example to the Republicans as to how to do nothing about climate change but without all the aggro of outright denial.

    Even now with their latest announcement, post dated some 10 plus years, it clearly had not been thought out. Cease importing petrol powered cars by 2032. Then what, use even filthier diesel cars? Or electric cars that are not affordable nor are they any less carbon emitting to produce and worst of all in 2021, purely throw away after a decade or so? No mention of decent, (i.e. not buses), public transport alternatives.

    Sorry but there is no debate, there’s just a collective vacuum of leadership supported by pure apathy.

  4. What Rogernomics and prioritising international students for money has done to NZ kids.

    Maths decline – Ministry of Education calls in Royal Society to stop NZ mathematics rapid decline

    Massey University distinguished mathematics professor Gaven Martin, who will chair the Royal Society panel, said: “If these sorts of results continue on with this trend, we’ll be looking at Third World results.”

    the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) survey found NZ students’ maths knowledge in the first year of high school is now below that in all other English-speaking countries and the lowest it has ever been.

    As well as the international study, he said the ministry’s own National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) showed that only 45 per cent of students in Year 8 were achieving at the expected curriculum level in maths in 2018, and only 20 per cent achieved the expected level in science in 2017.

    “That is a shocking statistic,” he said.
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/maths-decline-ministry-of-education-calls-in-royal-society-to-stop-nz-mathematics-rapid-decline/RJUTY7WTFGED4E5GSVNXDUSEHE/

    Focus on money and the construction of schools not kids in primary to secondary funding in NZ. Also our kids are helped fail by the woke, ‘business input’, the insane focus on new ‘ essential skilled’ aka underpaid jobs bringing in foreign chefs, aged care, labourers, and retail/burger/supermarket ‘managers. Any children from new residents aka international students, job visas, can get their kids free NZ schooling as a bonus, and Natz charter schools.

    • People do get upset about such reports fearing the cognitive decline of youth. But it would be cautious not to accept such deficit discourses too readily. For one, there is a difference between maths and numeracy, the latter being contextualized application. For sure there are some kids who struggle with school maths and later in the real world as adults (as there are some who struggle with reading, often due to some dyslexic-type condition). An alternative discourse would argue that too much meaning is predicated on standardized testing. from which deficit understandings originate (PISA and the like) – a good many kids are simply not good at these tests, often presented without context. Of course there could be a increasing skills deficit – often blamed on parents, teachers, the curriculum or digital technology. A simliar debate is well reported in regard to skills-based vs meaning-based understandings if literacy, but the same applies to maths/numeracy. It would be interesting to know what Professor Gaven Martin makes of this, as what is reported in the MSM is often used for impact rather than to profile nuanced understandings.

      The introductory sections of this paper outline key concepts as related to adults, but much the same could be said for kids in schools. I am sure a good many maths experts in university depts would take a similar view, but others not: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40955-019-00145-z

      • Even more telling in the age of climate change deniers. The media is not in an uproar or leading with the even worse Science results for kids in NZ. Aka only 20% achieved expected levels in Science.

        “As well as the international study, he said the ministry’s own National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) showed that only 45 per cent of students in Year 8 were achieving at the expected curriculum level in maths in 2018, and only 20 per cent achieved the expected level in science in 2017.”

        Wonder why neoliberalism (politicians/media) do not want the population to understand science when our planet is under immense strain and destruction of nature????

        The four types of climate denier, and why you should ignore them all
        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/30/climate-denier-shill-global-debate

  5. India has a pharmaceutical industry, churning out off patent and other drugs in generic non branded form–where do you think $2.49 Ibuprofen at Pak‘n‘Save comes from? New Zealand with its “knowledge wave” and hi tech milk powder industry surely could do similar.

    Inequality rolls on because it is not being challenged in a direct way. Dreams are free, and mine is for a left leadership of the NZCTU, rather than the current tame centrist one. Union leaders in unity with all the NGOS that can be united, should be building community understanding and support for direct action to challenge this unrepentant neo liberal Labour Govt.

    How dare they hold the first ever MMP majority and still crap on the working class from a great height? Because WE let them get away with it, that is why.

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