I was writing something on the stupid economics of poverty (lost potential, so lost value, increased costs & anti-social behaviour, less money in the local economy, favouring the colonial corporates over local businesses, loss of democracy & therefore wisdom), and ended up writing about the Smoke and Mirrors deceit we keep hearing.
New Zealand’s economy is a cocaine-fueled rush, on a base without a future – a low wage, low value, low diversity, short value-chain, socially-degrading, environmentally-degrading extractive economy that suits the colonial/corporate model of Cecil Rhodes – take the cheap resources using slave labour, leave the environmental & social costs in the colony, and take the money and multiply it back ‘home’ to a country or a disconnected gated community far far away.
I ended up writing this ….
There are disconnects in New Zealand between the sobering stories of poverty, inequality, housing and child deaths from Third World diseases, and those who stand on podiums in suits claiming we have a ‘strong’ economy. How can both coexist? Isn’t an economy there to serve the wellbeing of us all?
These social costs associated with poverty and death are indicative of a number of things. The economy is clearly not working as it should. It self-evidently no longer serves us all; it serves the few who are increasingly disconnected, both geographically and psychologically. Claims of merit rising and the poor choosing their own poverty are arrant nonsense, much like ‘trickle down’.
Most of us have become increasingly subservient servants to the economic beast. It is
also self-evident from the smoke and mirrors and the denials of various problems that the current government does not care. And all to further a frankly dumb economics of poverty that only serve the interests of the international corporate elite who are emulating a form of latter-day colonisation – cheap resources and slave wages. Cecil Rhodes will be cheering from his Zimbabwean crypt.
In making these claims of a ‘strong’ economy, the government hopes that people will look away. It hopes that their cynical – even deceitful – use of smoke and mirrors will work.
There is a danger in that approach. The right wing propaganda machine of Lynton Crosby has already faltered. People began to laugh at Teresa May’s ‘strong & stable’ political tag line as it was increasingly exposed as empty blather.
And it is empty blather in New Zealand as well. For instance, what growth we’ve had is due to immigration, house price rises and earthquake rebuilds, while the current direction of our low wage, low value colonial and increasingly corporate-dominated economy continues. In that context, our economic performance has been worse than
But on top of that mediocrity have come our social costs, including child mortality. Some of us are involved in politics because we are determined that we have to change from our vicious cycle of mediocrity.
Similarly, the smoke and mirrors of ‘job growth’ ignore inconvenient definitions. A one-hour, casual, temporary ‘job’ so common amongst the under-employed ‘precariat’ is markedly different than a permanent full time position. But the spin-doctors hope that the public will interpret ‘jobs’ as full time equivalents. Meanwhile, under-employment has tripled since 2008, and the precariat grows and grows.
Perhaps the most ludicrous claim is the right’s non-inflation indexed wage growth that takes no account of the massive increase in top salaries and the static or decreased bottom. On ‘average’, we’re told it’s all fine when it patently is not.
It really is time we looked deeper at where New Zealand’s economy is going.
You cannot look at our extractive increasingly outside corporate-owned and directed economy without hearing the distant echo of Cecil Rhodes. We are heading into a new colonialism.
While the agent of power has changed, the ideas of superiority, entitlement, taking, exploiting, reducing of land and people to resources, even the ‘duty’ to take, is *exactly* the same. The mega-corporate mind would annex the stars if it could. These are the immoral sentiments of the gluttonous psychopath.
1st September 2017
Chris Perley has a background in the field, in management, policy, consulting and research relating to land use, the environment, provincial economies and communities. He is an affiliated researcher at Otago University’s Centre for Sustainability. He is a 2017 Green Party candidate for the Tukituki Electorate.
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