Fighting Inflation – What Would A Democratic-Socialist Government Do?

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CONFRONTED WITH THE CHALLENGE of a worsening cost-of-living crisis, what would a democratic-socialist government do? Right now, answering that question coherently and believably is the Left’s most important assignment.

The Right’s response to this challenge is relatively clear: throw the economy into recession, maintain strong downward pressure on aggregate demand; reduce public spending. The Centre-Left’s approach to the crisis differs in no serious respect from the Right’s. It hopes to achieve the same goals, using the same methods, but in such a way that their inherent social violence is masked by the rhetoric of “kindness”.

Unfortunately for Jacinda Ardern and her Cabinet, there is no “kind” way of bringing inflation under control while remaining within the ideological parameters of neoliberalism. The classical definition of inflation: too much money chasing too few goods; more or less writes the neoliberal government’s policy for it.

The first and most important objective is to reduce the amount of money in circulation. Neoliberals achieve this key goal by raising the cost of borrowing money. Those with mortgages are required to pay more, leaving households with less to spend. The price of capital also rises, applying the brakes to business expansion and investment. In the face of these developments the labour market contracts: raising the level of unemployment, increasing workers’ fear of “the sack”, and setting off a steady decline in real wages.

In short order, the problem of too much money in too many people’s pockets simply disappears – along with their cash and credit. But wait, there’s more. If a farmer cannot make a dollar by supplying the market with one cabbage, then he will supply it with two. There will be more cabbages to buy, and at a lower price.

And there you have it! The cost of living falls. The inflationary tide recedes. The problems confronting neoliberal economists and politicians are solved.

All well and good for the neoliberal economists and politicians, but not in any way good for the human-beings on the receiving end of their decisions. The great virtue of these macroeconomic measures, from the neoliberals’ perspective, is that they save them from having to deal with the devastating micro effects of their policies.

They don’t have to witness the expression on workers’ faces when they’re told that their employer is “letting them go”. They don’t hear the sobs of the young couple leaving the house they struggled so hard to buy, but whose mortgage they can no longer afford. The small businessman who cannot make the numbers add-up, no matter how hard he tries, suffers alone – a casualty of the “creative destruction” of “market forces”. The real-world effects of a neoliberal government’s economic policies occur in places where the politicians who set them in motion seldom visit.

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In the long run, though, everyone is better-off for having helped to beat inflation and bring the cost-of-living under control. Such is the refrain of the neoliberal decision-makers. It is a bleak sort of consolation, akin to that of the General who praises the sacrifice of thousands of conscript soldiers – all of them killed by the murderous ineptitude of his military tactics. There are ways to win battles that do not necessitate slaughter. There are ways to beat inflation that do not depend on simultaneously beating-up the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

But, what are these ways? How can inflation be beaten without inflicting economic pain on the weakest members of society?

For democratic-socialists the answer lies in using the enormous power of the state to regulate the economy. Exactly the same power that neoliberalism currently uses to entrench the power and privilege of the capitalist elites.

Because the power of the state does not have to be used to keep the private sector profitable. The power of the state could just as easily be used to freeze mortgage rates, cap the prices of necessities, and control rents; to raise appreciably more revenue from its wealthiest citizens; and to levy “windfall” taxes on all those corporations guilty of racking-up excessive profits during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Even Boris Johnson’s Conservatives did that!)

At the same time, a democratic-socialist government could remove GST from basic food items. It could re-nationalise and centralise the generation and distribution of electric power, and then retail it to citizens at an affordable price. A democratic-socialist government could nationalise the public transportation system and make it free for everyone. A democratic-socialist government could even impose a “Carbon Footprint Tax” on imports. Only among neoliberals are “subsidy” and “tax” dirty words.

To be fair to Jacinda and her Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, they have made a modest effort towards subsidising petroleum and public transport. They have also provided many New Zealanders with a “Winter Energy Payment”. These are good moves, but they are nowhere near enough.

Sadly, the full mobilisation of the state’s powers to bring down the cost-of-living, tax excess wealth out of circulation, and reconfigure the ownership of what are, in truth, “social” industries for the benefit of the many, not the few, is still beyond the range of this Government’s political imagination. Nearly 40 years of neoliberalism has robbed Labour of the courage and creativity that, in the 1930s and 40s, made New Zealand a model democratic-socialist state.

Conservatives reading this post will shriek “Muldoonism!” And, they will be right. But there is another way to look at Rob Muldoon’s economic management, apart from using it as shorthand for everything that was wrong with New Zealand in the 1970s and 80s.

It is possible to recast Muldoon’s policies as proof of how deeply ingrained the determination to look after the interests of ordinary people had become in the New Zealand political system. Muldoon subsidised and regulated and controlled because the alternative – letting “market forces” rip – would leave far too many casualties in its wake. When Rob Muldoon promised “New Zealand the way YOU want it” – he meant it.

That the Labour Party was willing to inflict those casualties; that to keep the good opinion of Treasury and The Business Roundtable it was willing to abandon its democratic-socialist principles; and that, to this very day, its political creativity remains stunted by the neoliberal dogma it cannot seem to abandon; strikes me as a far greater crime than any Rob Muldoon may have committed. In the end, even the Springbok Tour made New Zealand a stronger country.

But, neoliberalism has not made New Zealand a stronger country, it has made it weaker. When the instinct of both their major parties is to use the nation’s weakest citizens as economic cannon-fodder, then surely it is time New Zealanders made “neoliberalism” a dirty word? Imposing cruelty in the name of kindness has only ever left humanity with more that is cruel, and less that is kind. It is not what democratic-socialists do.

 

59 COMMENTS

    • @ TRB. You write; “The Labour party is a neo-liberal outfit.”
      The thing that call’s itself ‘Labour’ is certainly a ‘neo-liberal-outfit’ as you rightly point out. But it can’t call itself the Labour party because it fails at a most basic level to be so which would reenforce the common understanding of what the ‘The Labour Party’ is, and should be and do. Which is people first and foremost. We, the people, for each other. Not feeding the four largest AO/NZ banksters who are all foreign owned more than $6 Billion of our dollars in net profits every fucking year! Instead, it’s a mutant Nat-zi-ACT-zi party-esque greed factory where the side effects are dire social hardship exhausting itself feeding the rapacious greed of the sociopathic well connected who claim they’re ‘successful’ because they’re diligent, hardworking, highly trained, prudent, stead worthy, trust worthy and/or focused. Well, many of them may be that, but the majority of what we think of as ‘right wing’ are merely crooks who lie, cheat and manipulate their way into positions of power and influence and once there, they lay down a frame work for their minions further back down the food chain to work with, then the power elite loll about as that money, YOUR money, comes cascading in. But wait? There’s more. The gang, commonly known as National and the other gang commonly known as Labour, are the same insidious organism and their tentacles reach into every single corner of our society and our societies’s systems and infrastructure.
      Social-capitalism should be the functioning guts within our democracy and to make sure it remains in good health, voting must be made mandatory. We must all engage. We must all participate, whether we like it or not. We must face the music and take our medicine.Once every three years. We head to a voting station and make that one most vitally important contribution to our society, to vote. Who cares who you for but you must vote.
      Pop on your read-between-the-lines-bullshit-filtering-glasses and peer, if you dare, into the lineage of Fletcher Challenge here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletcher_Challenge
      Currently, Fletcher Challenge is holding the entire domestic housing build to ransom. I, myself, have come to a standstill because I can’t buy even one sheet of 1.2×2.4x10mm gib board ( Approved by the building regulators working hand in undies with Fletchers, of course. ) much less the 100 I need to finish my home. That. Isn’t a social- capitalist democracy at work. It’s the fucking mafia!
      Farmers! Be particularly attentive when reading about Fletcher Challenge. They created The Rural Bank. How does one supply a new customer to the Rural Bank? Why, you create the necessity for the soon to be desperate customer to do so, or course. And how might one do that? How about getting your mates down who head up the producer boards to slow down the supply of your product to your off-shore customers, of course. Then, you got no money man so what do you do? You borrow off The Rural Bank, of course. Ahhhhh… thank heavens for the Rural Bank. Aye Boys?
      So. There’s no point in writing an, perhaps to some, problematic comment without a solution. We, all of us, desperately and urgently need an on-going inquiry. We, all of us, COULD crowd source/fund a team of forensic accountants and private investigators to go up and through our trade and commerce history, including who, why, when, what, how, and for how much with regard to our primary industry export history spanning at least the last 140 years. Why 140 years? Well, this, is why. “The Dunedin was the first ship to successfully transport a full cargo of refrigerated meat from New Zealand to England. In this capacity, it provided the impetus to develop the capacity of New Zealand as a major provider of agricultural exports, notwithstanding its remoteness from most markets. Wikipedia”
      @ CT. You write: “If a farmer cannot make a dollar by supplying the market with one cabbage, then he will supply it with two.” Yes, he or she will, most likely. But He/She shouldn’t. They should plough the worthless cabbages back into the soil then have a cup of tea and do some kissing with your he/she.)
      My old drum well banged, I think. x
      ( Thanks @ CT. for an awesome Post. x )
      Boingboing.net
      P.S. Lucky Ducky solves inflation. By Tom the Dancing Bug. ( Go on. You know you want to. )
      https://boingboing.net/2022/07/20/lucky-ducky-solves-inflation.html

      • “If a farmer cannot make a dollar by supplying the market with one cabbage, then he will supply it with two.” Yes, he or she will, most likely. But He/She shouldn’t. They should plough the worthless cabbages back into the soil”

        Or he could make sauerkraut.

  1. The delusion at the heart of this article is that there is – or ever can be – a group of all-knowing, wise and compassionate people who perfectly share the exact summed values of the society they would rule over. Because it would have to be ruled over to deliver Chris’ desired changes.

    And that such a group would be able to make all the decisions in a timely manner, without internal rivalry, and without favouring one group over another. Or that such a group would allow an election to remove them from power.

    Academics and writers often favour such a group coming to power because they delude themselves that they would have an honoured position in the nation as the expert advisors to such a government.

  2. The delusion at the heart of this article is that there is – or ever can be – a group of all-knowing, wise and compassionate people who perfectly share the exact summed values of the society they would rule over. Because it would have to be ruled over to deliver Chris’ desired changes.

    And that such a group would be able to make all the decisions in a timely manner, without internal rivalry, and without favouring one group over another. Or that such a group would allow an election to remove them from power.

    Academics and writers often favour such a group coming to power because they delude themselves that they would have an honoured position in the nation as the expert advisors to such a government.

    • The delusion at the heart of this article is that there is – or ever can be – a group of all-knowing, wise and compassionate people who perfectly share the exact summed values of the society they would rule over.

      Haha….They never read Hayek eh.

      The good news for Lefties is that he actually supports social welfare systems in his classic work, The Road to Serfdom

  3. Big contribution to inflation? Fuel!

    Yes, crude prices skyrocketed but not helping our cause is that NZ’s oil refinery was A, sold to private hands years ago and B, closed 3 months ago, something that appears trendy in the oil industry and has enabled oil companies to reap great profits. Plus we lost fuel supply security too. We are almost entirely reliant on Singapore for fuel at the whim of the oil companies now. They can do exactly what they want and the cold reality is our government is now utterly powerless. Oil companies, all foreign owned, could quite easily bring down a government too. And ironically the one talent Labour and its leader possess is playing politics and doing the numbers for self preservation but they missed the risk they placed themselves in.

    No one in this government nor its vacant energy minister Megan Woods had the slightest clue how bad that would expose us and them to cost increases and other supply problems because no one in this government has any practical experience in anything.

    Which simply highlights that the current government has a very very shallow talent pool, Wille Jackson being the sole the exception. Or at least the ones Jacinda picks fit the shallow pool theory, so I wouldn’t trust any of them otherwise to run a cake stall. And definitely some of their policies acted out as per their wishes have had some terribly perverse outcomes. Just ask Michael Hill Jewellers!

    Unfortunately we don’t have the skills, intellect or the vision in Labour and definitely not the Greens to achieve what you suggest Chris. Good idea though!

  4. There are certainly aspects of neoliberal austerity in Labour economic policy under Robertson but this pales to that of National or even worse, the ACT party. I agree that this Labour government are most unlikely to do lefty things.

  5. Odd then that we don’t live in a neo-liberal society isn’t it? The state accounts for $1 of every $3 in NZ. Healthcare, education, infrastructure etc are all provided by the state. Largely, major assets are owned by the state although there has been partial privatisation to the point of those being like a bag of half sucked lollies.

    NZ is a left of centre, social democracy with the occasional change in colour leading it from red to blue and back again, like the shuffling old vicar moving around the dead dried flowers in his church in an attempt to fool the half blind and dying parishioners that things are changing for the better.

    As for Chris’ observation that none have had to ‘witness the expression on workers’ faces when they’re told that their employer is “letting them go’ it’s part of the problem that we have with this current lot of student and professional politicians in all parties. None of them have had to deal with the hard, unforgiving realities of life – life is tough and at times people have to make impossible decisions that have no good options, just less bad.

    I’d rather an economic environment that’s well managed with stable inflation, like that delivered by Don Brash and carried on by Alan Bollard than this mess we’re in right now.

    As for the idea that the state can get us out of this, it really seems laughable as where has that ever really worked without ending in disaster? Seems to me that this always ends up being the cliched road to hell, paved with good intentions.

    We are headed to a recession, it will be destructive to some and many others will suffer. This isn’t entirely the fault of the RBNZ or Labour but both have more than enough culpability for the devastation that is tearing towards us like a dark, evil tornado of suffering. The forthcoming recession could have been softened had both parties done a better job so really it should be Grant and Adrian facing those who will lose homes, jobs and tragically in the occasional case, those whom they love.

    They won’t be there to face those consequences though as they don’t actually care despite Chris’ forlorn hope that the state solve these problems. After all it’s always those old soldiers who’ve seen the brutal horrors of war that are the very last to agitate for a return to battle for they know the cruelty and terror that lies in wait for those who do fight. Whilst the analogy is clearly bombastic, it’s as true for economic and business management, sadly Grant hasn’t seen and doesn’t appear to understand the actual consequences of his decisions.

    • Brilliant.

      Yes give me a boring Reserve Back Governor any day, not one who loves the sound of his own voice and behaves as he’s some type of celebrity.

      And as fire Robertson, never has a fiance minister spent so much money in the history of New Zealand, yet has so little to show for it

  6. “It is not what democratic-socialists do.”

    No it isn’t. They’d rather have death by 1000 cuts for everyone because “that’s fair” than treat the disease quickly the affected parts of the economy.

    Muldoon drove the country into the debtor’s prison over the decade before Douglas told Lange “There Is No Alternative”.

    • At least the pain is shared fairly.

      Workers had their wages screwed down throughout the 1990’s. How is that ‘Good’?

      • It’s good that it wasn’t a whole lot worse.

        Because it would have have been had the 1980s economic reforms not been done. There is no free lunch, every public sector facility & socialist support benefit is ultimately provided by capitalist enterprise profits.

  7. The ‘Upper Middle Class Woke Party ‘ formerly known as ‘labour party’ today is stocked with peeps from University that did never work in real life. How on earth can you actually expect these civilian losers to understand and know anything about real life, all they ever did was latch on that taxpayers tit as hard as they can lest they loose that access to that cheap cheap free money that they call ‘salaries’ that comes curtesy of the tax payer and for which they have to achieve nothing. Non of them should be paid more then the min wage until they actually achieve anything then they could get a nice wee bonus around 5 grand maybe? , non of them should have any housing allowances, no travel allowances for their families, non of htem should have first class healthcare – even when they decide to not get that papsmear and then in the end need emergency surgery (for which a person had to be bumped of the surgery list), all of them should be treated as they treat nurses, nurse aids, janitors, early chidlhood educators, and so on and so forth. Do that and watch them scurry off into the darkness of some thinktank faster then you could type boo.
    Labour is useless, devoid of inspiration, incapable of doing what needs to be done as that would be work, thus will only ever do what they like to do – hold meetings, eat cookies, and pat themselves of the back. That is literally the only explanation for Carmel Sepuloni., Andrew Little and Jacinda Ardern. Pontificate, washing their hands and blaming others for their failure, and at the end of their terms on the next flight out of the country – see Helen Clark.
    But they are great at fearmongering – much like the Dems in the us, or their loser counterparts in the UK>
    Vote for us, or you lose ‘abortion rights’.
    Vote for us, or lose your ‘benefit’.
    Vote for us, or you will be homeless. lol. lol. lol.

  8. Nothing, they can’t do anything cause they don’t have the mental capacity to envisage anything else then what they do right now, which is fuck all.

    • Correct, again…our Members of Parliament are the 1% in terms of income, and benefits…their peaks are insane! This factor does not help in reducing inflation = higher wages can result in higher prices…perhaps, they (MPs) could take a pay cut to help out??

  9. Save money by giving up the centralisation and task forces taking up money, left, right and centre that nobody wants like 3 Waters, Redundancy Insurance, Polytech reforms, health restructure, destroying freedom of speech.

    Avoid confusion and save money by concentrating on getting existing dysfunctional government departments functioning first!

    Waka Kotahi unit facing restructure deemed ‘no longer effective’, documents reveal
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/469495/waka-kotahi-unit-facing-restructure-deemed-no-longer-effective-documents-reveal

    Endless truck accidents in NZ roads now – what do you expect when you allow such light penalties for fraud and corruption and you can just pay $300 (car) or $2000 (truck license) for not turning up to your drivers license test! https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/114283545/bribes-for-driver-licences-deportation-order-issued-for-star-witness-and-youtube-sensation

    Janet Wilson: Polytech merger’s ills a harbinger for Government’s other reforms
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/129281573/janet-wilson-polytech-mergers-ills-a-harbinger-for-governments-other-reforms

    If the government wants to tackle inflation they need to get some balls and start making all the bloated useless organisations get rid of their management – especially the top instead of those who actually have some skills – most of NZ’s issues are due to poor management at the top and middle – but it’s the people on the ground that pay for it.

    NZ society is so dysfunctional that they seem to virtue signal about letting all these high needs people into NZ to reside and become resident here!

    Fraudsterers, drug smugglers, animal abusers, people buying up NZ assets and running them into the ground, drink drivers, rapists, ‘retail & fast food’ managers or high end fraud managers like Joanna Harrison getting their hands on government departments ….

    Overstayer can’t be found as bankers seek to serve a $1m bankruptcy notice on his wife
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/overstayer-cant-be-found-as-bankers-seek-to-serve-a-1m-bankruptcy-notice-on-his-wife/A5TUYIGADONU4YG6JCTY6DVORI/

    Ministry of Transport fraudster Joanne Harrison’s criminal history
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/stuff-circuit/113601464/ministry-of-transport-fraudster-joanne-harrisons-criminal-history-revealed

    Investors who don’t know what they are doing but just buy their way in, they are destroying NZ livelihoods, communities and jobs!

    ‘Rack and ruin’: Foreign investors forced to sell vineyard for huge loss
    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/business/oio-forces-wealthy-foreign-investors-to-sell-boutique-karaka-point-vineyard-for-huge-loss/

    The troubled redevelopment of the Waiwera Hot Pools complex by Russian billionaire Mikhail Khimich has ended in liquidation
    https://www.interest.co.nz/property/98194/troubled-redevelopment-waiwera-hot-pools-complex-russian-billionaire-mikhail-khimich

    We have ex police from the Asian unit, now working for convicted murderers and planting illegal trackers, interfering with a crime scene and not prosecuted in NZ by their mates at the police force. Crime does pay more and so does working and supporting deep pockets with few ethics.

    Auckland police won’t prosecute ex-detective turned private eye over illegal surveillance
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/auckland-police-wont-prosecute-ex-detective-turned-private-eye-over-illegal-surveillance/SQXRDDXZEKXHS6QDGKG3OFGXTE/

    Bums on seats and zero enforcement or even interest and proof (over years) of good character of residents coming to NZ. Again start by focusing on NZ criminals before adding more from overseas in and then putting them into government departments!

    People hear of NZ residency and immigration and think…..suckers!!! Most of those convicted can then spend 20+ years refusing to leave and being supported by our wokester legal system while more and more resources are poured into them and not into NZ citizens!

  10. Hear! Hear! Chris. This fake Labour government is too afraid to address poverty even, or should I say are accepting of imposing poverty on us all because of their inability to deal with another Crisis of their own making. The inflation wasn’t imported, it was homegrown.

    The solutions you point out are reasonable, and like brussle sprouts, are a cheaper alternative than an avocado I guess.

    The taxes you suggest are necessary during these time and it’ll take a different government and political party with cahones to do this. To force this to happen will probably take a period of political instability to bring about this. A series of hung parliaments or elections will do it. One or two hanged parliaments will hopefully trigger some Orthodoxy and commonsense and progressive political thinking and government.

    Amene.

  11. In Rob Muldoon’s time the Reserve Bank was not independent, and Muldoon was able to exercise greater control of the money supply by manipulating the “reserve ratio”, keeping it within the low twenties percentage wise. This probably helped maintain a strong dollar – many complained that the dollar was overvalued – and keep import prices down.

    A democratic socialist government might also nationalise the banking system. This, I believe , was part of the first Labour government’s agenda but, apart from nationalising the BNZ, and setting up the RBNZ, they failed to carry through on it.

    • Andrew
      Be fair now! That’s a much better investment than fixing potholes in our roads. Also NZTA should employ more PR people. 88 is probably not enough. Why fix roads when you can make tv ads with 200 people coming out of a tiny car, one of them wishing she was twins?

  12. Great commentary. In hindsight, Muldoon was a Patriot. Labour’s Roger Douglas introduced Neoliberalism & ruined the Country forever!

  13. I don’t think we should worry about what democratic socialists would do. What would any socialist do? Hell, what would an economic moderate like Richard Nixon or Robert Muldoon do? Anything is better than what’s on offer from the two cheeks of the neoliberal a**.

  14. Muldoon subsidised and regulated and controlled because the alternative – letting “market forces” rip – would leave far too many casualties in its wake.

    And he still failed. The moment the controls came off inflation took off again. More importantly it was finally accepted, by the Labour Party of all groups, that it was not Muldoon who had failed but the system and therefore the system had to be changed. It took a few more years but once inflation was tamed we got to live with three + decades of very low inflation, which has a lot of positives.

    But sure, you’ve never accepted that your system failed in the 1970’s and early 1980’s and you never will, even when it stared you in the face. Those of us at the coalface at the time as young people had grown to hate your system and were overjoyed to get rid of your beloved government controls in as many aspects of our lives as possible so that it would never again be possible to “freeze mortgage rates, cap the prices of necessities, and control rents;: .

    Been there, done that, it failed – with negative results that were simply ignored or denied by Muldoon.

    Or to put it in language you approve of in other circumstances:
    “We won. You Lost. It goes”

    • We know neoliberals like you and Lange sabotaged New Zealand. When we save her, you won’t be ruining her again.

    • Decades of low wage growth is the price for low inflation. There are heaps of people around who have been stuck on, on real terms, the same wage for 20-30 years. How is that ‘good’?

      • It’s good because cabbage and TDB idiot Bob says it’s good, no critical thinking required as long as we elect a strong right wing dictatorship government. Cabbage says so and I agree with him.

        • We need another two or three terms of Jacinda for this country to return to it’s former glory. I’ll do my best with my vote.

  15. Imposing cruelty in the name of kindness has only ever left humanity with more that is cruel, and less that is kind.

    Oh I don’t know Chris; “Baroness” Thatcher was ‘kinda’ bitch…

  16. there are ameliorations if not solutions possible but they are politically unacceptable to those who own all our pollies

  17. This column reeks of socialism. Thank you Chris for putting forward such a coherent argument against the forces of neo-liberalism.

  18. Did you discover this Bill Sutch utopia in your NLP archives Chris?
    NZ is a neo-colony of the Anglo-American empire now caught in the coming war between it and the newly imperialist China.
    NZ’s state is a Muppet transfixed in the headlights of these imperialist powers.
    The only state that can make the changes you want is the one that smashes the Muppet state and unites with the workers in the imperialist powers who smash their states.
    It’s called a workers’ state where the majority that creates the wealth rules in a socialist world.

  19. Great stuff Chris – but how ironic that, if given the choice of who might best steer us through this mess, people would consider Muldoon over either of the current alternatives. But, if picking from politicians past was possible, they’d probably prefer Mickey Savage.

  20. Thanks Chris. Unfortunately we are all piddling into the wind until we can find a new movement/political party with your extolled values. As a former very active member of the Labour party (cancelled myself in 2020) I could tell by the spin coming from our MP first hand at meetings, which was challenged, that this lot believe in their own elitist views and entitled position in society. They will not be turned around as we were told that the modus operandi was to put as much legislation into controlling things as they could so it would be difficult to unwind.
    Unfortunately, we have the historically entrenched two party mentality which is hard to dismantle even with MMP. Nothing short of a messiah personality/ populist leader will unsettle the neolibs in NZ.
    Because of the party situation National will be the next government as it’s anyone but Labour for many people even though they may never have voted Nats in the past. A viable alternative would be nice.

    • ….that this lot believe in their own elitist views and entitled position in society.

      If it makes you feel any better I, as a Righty, feel exactly the same about them and their Luxon counterparts in National.

      And Davos of course. Can’t forget the pricks of the World Economic Forum, starting with that fucking Bond Villain, Klaus Schwab, and the rest of his Masters of the Universe.

  21. ‘When the instinct of both their major parties is to use the nation’s weakest citizens as economic cannon-fodder, then surely it is time New Zealanders made “neoliberalism” a dirty word?’

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many times the Pentagon’s death-denying phrase ‘collateral casualties’ might have been heard in New Zealand’s polished boardrooms, let’s say since Bob Jones launched his NZ Party off the deck of Ayn Rand, Thatcher and Reagan in 1980.

    Another excellent thought stream Mr Trotter. Thank you.

  22. Are Chris’s ideas for social and economic recovery plausible and if they are why hasn’t this Govt started to implement them. I’m no economist but I’ll have a guess. For Chris’s government intervention on a massive scale to work, you would need a very smart talented cabinet that had loads of business experience and were capable of making really hard decisions themselves, not leaving them to the back room Uni bureaucrats who give advice but never have to be held accountable for it. This government, and I suggest most governments, haven’t got that talent, although this government thinks it has. All I could see down the track is a country with no income, completely bogged down with badly run govt departments wondering how to run our water, power, rail and other assets with Maori wanting their share of governance. No thanks. Chris’s description of Nationals idea that is basically ” it’s kinder to be cruel now” Get the recession over asap. What you see is what you get. That’s more realistic to me. The bank mortgage freeze works until we don’t have a strong banking sector, so would have to be temporary, but many on the left don’t get that having a strong banking sector is necessary. CB will want to poke my eyes out. GST on essentials should be considered remembering thats less govt money for other stuff like health. The government had to pull the trigger to keep the country going during covid. That was good. Has it spent all that printed money wisely. Hell no. It’s time to pay the piper.

    • So you are willing to see thousands of low income workers, and homeowners wiped out because you want your term deposit return up and your latte cheap.

      You make me want to vomit. Perhaps rich pricks like you should be the ones to lose their shirt for a change. The banks, property investors, business owners, shareholders. THey have creamed for years, driving around in their Ford Rangers while the rest of us struggle to keep the Toyota Corolla WoF’d, living in fancy houses with Netflix subs while the poor sit in shithole boarding houses.

      The rich never seem to want to share the gains, but they always make us wear the pain, NO MORE!!!

      • A bit of personal towards me Millsy. You can vomit because of my comment and call me a rich prick but maybe your hatred towards me is misguided. In my comments I explained what I see happening if Chris’s Ideas are implemented. Ever watched the program “Gliding on” Millsy. A comedy based on employees who worked in bloated inefficient government departments. The employer of the time Millsy was the government. In theory everyone is happy accept it never lasts because governments can’t run businesses and the country goes nowhere. You, see business owners as aliens to be despised even though many of them will go broke also. The only good people are poor people to you Millsy. Or maybe a good government to you is one with a never ending money tree who can keep you in cash and you may not even have to work for it. I don’t know how many jobs you’ve tried Millsy but you can get $28/h working on a rich prick dairy farm. You’ve just got to get on with the boss.

  23. PS. How much more does Robo have left in the bottom of that ‘Bazooka’ he pulled out in 2020? And what happened to what was spent?

    • Update. Now that Winston has ‘got of jail’ with the court deciding NZF arent a criminal political terrorist organisation.

      Will Jacinda and co be inviting Winston up to the house for a cuppa!

  24. “CONFRONTED WITH THE CHALLENGE of a worsening cost-of-living crisis, what would a democratic-socialist government do?”

    Exacerbate it?

    Typically the left’s playbook is to interfere in markets, creating ever worse distortions until the whole thing folds.

    • I think the word that you might have been looking for Andrew is ‘excoriate’ it, ie find it very unsatisfactory and set about cleaning it up. They would give the market good medicine in just the right amount of drops!

    • And the typical right’s playbook is for the free market, which means exorbitant food, power prices and well, everything.

  25. capitalist markets don’t need any help being dysfunctional…just show me a capitalist market that actually works andrew just one developed country with a working capitalist market.

  26. The major fact in our favour, Chris, is the end of times from finite resources and climate change. Social-democratic/ Keynesian post WW ll govts would have confronted climate change when we knew in nineteen ninety.

    Muldoon remembered.

    I thought it was an accounting trick in the Eighties — the Free-market Racket — but immediate reward always beats deferred with us humans. And for that crime more and more are manipulated by the short-term rich to believe comfort is a description of objective reality.

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