GUEST BLOG: Dave Brownz – Hard and Fast Agenda for Survival

After power cuts, IPCC red alerts, and growing distrust in both free markets and central states, by now most people should have drawn the conclusion that when the market delivers us economic crashes, pandemics and climate collapse, it is truly fucked. OK, there are the holdout flat earthers determined to make a show of their ignorance that all this is a UN QAnon Bill Gates conspiracy. While we may be able to write off their ideas we can’t afford to write off their reactionary politics.
To make the transition to the non-market non-profit society we clearly need for our survival, we have to factor in that reaction, because if we don’t it will more than distract us from our urgent agenda.  While we debate human rights, trans identity, racial separatism, and secret socialist plans, with all the liars, it is our pants that catch fire.
First on the agenda, are the jobs and livelihoods of the working majority. We need jobs for all on a living wage, pegged to the actual cost of living for workers. Bosses who can’t pay a living wage will not qualify for subsidies that help them transition to meet the emergency climate targets and end up in the dump of history.
Where jobs are still needed, government has to create them as part of its emergency public works program to meet urgent social needs like health and housing and to  combat climate change.
Second, the external costs of private businesses (all the direct and indirect subsidies such as tax breaks + roads + R&D + Covid costs etc) and will be calculated as a cost of transition. This would ordinarily bring most businesses down. But since the economy is a social, collective undertaking where the division-of-labour requires global cooperation we will write off those costs as an expression of social solidarity.
But the price for that gesture is the recognition that the market if fucked and that businesses in Aotearoa/NZ have always been heavily subsidised by the taxpayers. Which means no Government write off of external costs without buying into direct state subsidies to transition. This is how we put the defunct more market ideology finally to rest.
Third, since the climate change target of 1.5 C now requires a carbon neutral Aotearoa by 2030 (not 2050 – the old IPCC target) we have to scrap the market for carbon credits.  Carbon credits allow dirty economics to survive at the expense of the rapidly depleting global carbon sink. So we will junk the market and turn carbon credits into direct subsidies to businesses to eliminate dirty practices within a decade.
Polluters (in the widest sense) in particular dairy farmers, need to transition from polluting to regenerative, GHG neutral, production by 2030. They can do this by changing farming practices and land use. Direct carbon credits in the form of interest free loans, and an array of R&D support for shared solutions would allow this to happen.
Where farmers are trapped by debt to private banks, blocking their ability to transition, Government would allow the Reserve Bank to form a Rural Bank that takes over those debts and negotiates a rate of interest to encourage the transition.
There are many other items on the agenda such as renationalizing the electricity market,  and providing free public transport, all of which pose the question of how can can we pay for the transition?
Readers will be familiar with the debates about quantitative easing (QE) which prints money for banks and corporates, and question why that money doesn’t go directly to those who produce without the need for such middlemen. Since QE creates inflation when productivity lags behind the money supply, then it is the productive sector, in particular workers, whose productivity prevents inflationary pressures from building.  So lets eliminate the parasites and empower the Government to use the Reserve Bank to directly fund economic productivity.
Of course, like the defunct market which can no long guarantee productivity increases, let alone meet climate change targets, we have to recognise the historic key role of the state in directly planning and managing the economy to meet environmental and social priorities. Yet this brings us up against the Billionaires and their fascist paramilitaries in defence of their sunk capital, along with the centralised power of the state in the hands of the few who dictate Government policy and amplify their ideology through their media.
So the fundamental question posed here is: how can the majority of working people who make the wealth, create a government that can survive the reaction of the ruling class, and act on this “hard and fast” agenda so that we have a chance of surviving all that nature is throwing back at us for trying to destroy it over the last 300 years?

Dave Brownz is TDBs guest Marxist blogger


  1. Some very good policies. Excellent final question.

    Part of the problem for these islands in the south pacific, is that most of the billionaires we are currently up against are from, and still located in, the US and Europe. Not surprisingly, many of these parasites are now looking for residency, citizenship and/or bunkers in Aotearoa-NZ, now that they can see the climate, resources, and financial systems hitting the fan.

    How to stop our governments (Labour and National led) continuing to roll over and do their bidding?

    I guess part of the answer is solidarity of the working, under and precarious classes, locally and internationally.

  2. ‘We need jobs for all on a living wage, pegged to the actual cost of living for workers.’

    No we don’t, Dave. We need to pay people to NOT work, just as we need to pay dairy farmers to NOT dairy farm.

    And we need more Permaculture than we can possibly organise between now and the crash.

    • We need degrowth not a GDP race to oblivion.
      Small communities with them growing their own food locally, permaculture or the closest we can get to it but prepare for population reduction as health services become simpler in scope.

  3. AFKT and John.

    I did say ‘readers’. “Economic and social priorities” includes democratic socialist definition of priorities. That includes how work is shared, and its reward. Any society has to use labour to meet its needs. But instead of the needs of capital for profit, we need the working majority to define needs.

    Same with degrowth. Growth under a workers government would not mean GDP but how resources are used sustainably in the light of climate collapse. Labour productivity does not mean producing more to fulfil the drive for profits, but producing what we need with the least labour time.

    Which brings us back to Karolyn’s point. What sort of government do we need to realise this agenda? Let’s hear more on the answers to this question.

  4. Step One!
    Take out the government, by hook or by crook or vote
    Step Two: Denounce Capitalism
    Step Three: Reallocate people whenua with people having 10 acres each.
    That’s a start. Let’s see how ‘collective’ and humane we really are.

  5. blockchain. framework. tokens. elections. cut out the “bureaucracy”, the “capitalists” and the “politicians”.

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