Tag Archives: New Zealand Herald

Can financial regime change deliver a more equitable world?

The New Zealand Herald has published a brief but fascinating analysis of the current economic crisis by Robert Wade, New Zealand born professor of political economy and development at the London School of Economics. In the article, Wade sketches the outlines of the crisis and examines its origins, and in so doing clearly identifies the guilty party: the neoliberal ‘Washington consensus’ of the past 30 years.

In the course of the article Wade indicates how the distribution of wealth has changed in that 30 years. In 1980 the highest earning 1% of the US population earned just under one-tenth of disposable income; by 2007 the highest earning 1% had cornered almost one-quarter of disposable income. Such shocking inequity, Wade suggests, might have led to popular unrest but for the easy availability of credit to allow increased household consumption.

Now the credibility of the global Ponzi scheme is in tatters, many governments have suddenly rediscovered intervention, not only to prevent the complete collapse of the financial system but also to maintain their own legitimacy in the face of recession and rapidly climbing unemployment.

Robert Wade has presented his analysis of the crisis in lengthier and more detailed form in the New Left Review. This article, Financial regime change?, is well worth a read. Here’s just a flavour:

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, David, economic analysis, social justice

The Green Party and the environmental movement in New Zealand

A recent editorial in the New Zealand Herald (4 June 2008 ) offers the Green Party some advice on political positioning:

Despite their durability, the Greens should be a stronger party in this country. Environmental values are widely held and can offer a political identity outside the normal social divide. The party in our Parliament, however, has not offered a separate identity, it adheres to a left-wing view of environmentalism, opposed to free trade, preferring public ownership to private property, distracted by issues it calls social justice.

A broader Green Party would build some conservation projects on private property rights and recognise the power of market forces to ensure resources are used sustainably. A party of that stamp would draw support from across the spectrum and could contemplate dealings with any government.

The Green Party needs to move out of left field and become a central player.

It’s not first time I’ve seen this complaint in the Herald (here’s another example). But one might easily be led to suspect the Herald’s motives in freely offering its counsel to the Greens, given the newspaper’s tendency toward unreconstructed neoliberalism (which might just explain the emphasis on private property rights and market forces, and the dismissal of social justice concerns in the above quote).

However, the frequency with which I have heard similar complaints from environmentalists, conservationists and even, at times, some party members suggests that it is not just editorial writers who have failed to grasp something quite fundamental about ecopolitics.

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, David, green politics

Demographia Round #2: my faith in journalism is restored (a little)

Prime Minister takes issue with house-cost findings: An international survey that found New Zealand the least affordable country for house buyers was widely attacked yesterday and its findings questioned.

I’ll keep an eye on how this unfolds (Original post here).

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, Barry, economic analysis

Spinning the Housing Affordability Crisis: Don Brash and Demographia try shift the blame, and the New Zealand Herald goes along for the free ride.

Anne Gibson’s unbalanced article: “NZ houses world’s least affordable” in this morning’s New Zealand Herald brings together a couple of themes I’ve been mulling over recently: housing affordability and PR “spin”. The article reports on the release of an international study of housing affordability and associated policy suggestions by Demographia (full report here).

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, Barry, economic analysis

Beyond “the holy grail” – a quick look at the (New Zealand) Economic Development Indicators 2007 report.

The (New Zealand) Economic Development Indicators 2007 Report was released recently (link is for the summary document).

Sadly, in addressing the report, Government Minister Pete Hodgson, the New Zealand Herald, and the Opposition National Party all seem to have bought into the “Keeping up with the Joneses” mentality rather than looking seriously at the underlying issues. Continue reading

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, Barry, economic analysis