Equality of Opportunity vs Equality of Outcome

June 12th, 2007 at 6:21 pm by David Farrar

Last week Jordan Carter blogged on what it means to be left wing and quotes from some overseas socialist parties. What I found most fascinating was his statement:

Our ideology at heart says that because people are morally equal, and because the distribution of talents and capacities is largely a matter of luck (and therefore morally arbitrary), the community as a whole has a responsibility to embrace a political and economic system that reflects this.

That is, public policy uses a range of tools – sometimes markets, sometimes community provision, sometimes state provision – to ensure that each person has a roughly comparable standard of living, quite independent of their luck in drive, intelligence, physical aptitude etc.

This shows the difference between right and left. On the right we think it is nonsense to have a society where everyone has the same standard of living. Certain countries have tried paying brain surgeons the same as street cleaners. The results are well known. yet despite this, it remains a goal of the left – to drag everyone down to the same standard of living. To penalise those who have ambition, intelligence and drive etc. After all they’re just lucky to have inherited them in their worldview.

This notion of society compensating for those who are not as “gifted” as others is classic statist thinking. Where should it end? Should ugly guys have the state provide paid prostitutes so they get as much sex as the “studs”. Should those with arsehole personalities be given more money to compensate for the fact they don’t get promoted as much as helpful people?

This post explains much about the thinking of the left. There is never ever a time where there is too much state involvement. Because until the laziest, thickest, most arseholed member of society has a comparable standard of living to the most hard working and intelligent, then there is always more state intervention to be done.

It is unfair that some people are lucky enough to be hard working and ambitious, and the role of the state is not to encourage them, but to drag everyone down to the same level.

No tag for this post.

114 Responses to “Equality of Opportunity vs Equality of Outcome”

  1. TM China () says:

    Here, here, well done David…..

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  2. Damian () says:

    It is also a very begrudging way of thought. The way “rich” people are demonised for their wealth is quite frankly disgusting.

    There is also a Darwinist flavour here – “each according to his gifts”, from a business point of view those businesses with the most margin pay their staff more because of the value they produce. For those working at McDonald’s the same applies. They choose to work there and yes, they do get paid poorly, but the point is they choose to work there. No one forced them to.

    In another commentary Jordan made some extraordinary assertions that capital and labour couldn’t work towards the same ends without state intervention. Rubbish. That is from a position of one who has never worked in the private sector and never had the privilage of employing staff and inspiring them to greater good. Employment in the private sector is like the sea – the tide goes in and the tide goes out, but the tide is always very fair and very consistent. Employers approach their employees, in my experience, in very good faith. Retention and looking after your staff is important, it isn’t as bad as these socialist losers make out. And how would they really know?

    Tall poppy syndrome exists in this country because of the likes of Jordan and his comrades. It is unfortunate that they begrudge successful people and are sceptical of “rich” business owners. If only they had some true vision for these people this country might go where it has the potential to. John Key is certainly the man to get us there.

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  3. wiremu1306 () says:

    Yes David, and the really sad thing is that enough New Zealanders now believe that it is their right to be compensated by the government giving them – with no effort on their part – money that has been taken away from those who have worked damned hard to get it, that this sorry lot of socialists and their rag tag bunch of opportunistic supporters gets re-elected a sufficient number of times to drive many of us overseas. Sorry about the lack of punctuation, but I hated to interrupt the flow.

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  4. dad4justice () says:

    May I suggest that cockup Jordan Carter remove the turnip that is protruding out of his well worn bottom , as his head is clearly is f##ked !!

    Socialism Stinks and so do the Sisterhood !!

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  5. Mike Readman () says:

    “Should those with arsehole personalities be given more money to compensate for the fact they don’t get promoted as much as helpful people”?

    Reverse that and you have Inland Revenue to a T. I notice an Inland Revenue ad above, I guess they won’t like that!

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  6. dad4justice () says:

    “Should those with arsehole personalities be given more money to compensate for the fact they don’t get promoted as much as helpful people”?

    Add to that list of dysfunctional government f##k ups – those callous /radical feminist child snatchers from the Department of CYFS !!

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  7. Lindsay () says:

    Jordan’s bullshit just makes excuses for people. He’s peddling determinism (you are a victim of your circumstances) instead of self-will (you control your life). The first view just writes people off. It doesn’t care about them or their potential. It’s the antithesis of aspiration.

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  8. Bogusnews () says:

    It’s the problem with socialism. The moment you insist that everyone gets the same regardless, then it automatically means that everyone gets less as productivity plummets. Afterall, why work your butt off when your colleague won’t work but has to be given the same amount?

    The worst thing though to me is socialists use a guise of caring for people, but this is a mask, their real interest is control. It is shown by their placing their ideology (their mechanism of control) above the people they allege to be concerned about.

    You only have to look at the vehement support given in this blog of our socialist governments running of the health system. Even though the waiting has doubled and record numbers of people are dying they absolutely refuse to accept any problem with the underlying ideology.

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  9. brian_smaller () says:

    Socialism has always smacked too much of a religion for my liking.

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  10. Horace () says:

    check out his quotes though – I put them here again for easing the load on those less fortunate to have not been gifted with the talent of effort:

    “… by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.”

    “A society must, in order to live and survive, be characterised by an all-embracing solidarity, a capacity of empathy with other people’s conditions, a sense of co-responsibility and participation. Otherwise, it will sooner or later break up in pieces of egoism. Therefore it can never be them and us, there is only us. Solidarity is and has to be indivisible.”

    The only thing that makes those ideas left wing, is a left wing interpretation. They are ideas of basic humanity, something both sides of the political divide have to varying degrees.

    Being left or right wing is a very clumsy way of describing a personal interpretation of the world. We are all men and women after all.

    Those who chose the left do not believe we are “on our own” in life and those on the right believe we are. The left adopt policy that runs from innocuous feel good guidelines to extreme force for everyone to be a compenstaion for their fear.

    The right believe that the world will never be perfect and choose policy that either tolerates human imperfection or at the other extreme, takes advangtage of and promotes the exploitation of human imperfection.

    Humanity does not reside solely on the left or right. At this time in NZ, the delusion that it does is a reflection of the person, not a true indication of political ideology.

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  11. Kent Parker () says:

    Wow, he really is a socialist.

    I hope he doesn’t earn more than the minimum wage, for the sake of the purity of his own ideology. Chances are he doesn’t because he wouldn’t be able to afford to maintain a blog, let alone maintain a computer connection, or pay for the phone or power. If he was gifted the blog or is sponsored by someone then that is patently unfair and it should be taken away from him so that he can return to the standard of living of those with less luck…

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  12. Horace () says:

    I should add too, that being a “liberal right winger”

    *cough cough*

    is really a person who cannot distinguish political goals from personal needs.

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  13. Kent Parker () says:

    …furthermore, if he lives with a spouse who works then either of the two should have their job taken away from them, because not everyone has the luck of being able to maintain a healthy working relationship or co-habit a dwelling with other people…

    Until Jordan can personally demonstrate the robustness of his ideology then he is not worth listening to and behind his aspirations lie the Orwellian reality: “everyone is equal but some are more equal than others”. Yes, Jordan is more equal than the rest of us.

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  14. Horace () says:

    You’re right, Kent Parker.

    You do have to admire Jordan’s supreme hypocrisy and complete inability to evaluate his own position, though. That in itself borders on genius!

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  15. mavxp () says:

    I think “socialism” ought to be viewed in the context in which it was expounded by Marx & Engles in the Communist Manufesto – that is the Industrial Revolution, where peasants were moved off the land to make way for more efficient farming techniques, and moved to the city to work in factories owned by the wealthy. It was an employers market, and there were no checks and balances in place to prevent exploitation. Conditions were terrible, life was short, ugly and brutal, there was little to no opportunity for schooling, or advancement unless you already came from a background of means. The modern day equivalent would be asian sweatshops, factories and construction sites where most of out clothing, and consumer goods come from.

    This however is not modern day western countries, where the rise of the middle class on the back of the industrial revolution has meant it really is down to individual effort to get ahead. The socialism ideas requiring checks and balances have been put in place, and are largely agreed by both sides of the political spectrum as being necessary for a functioning society – such as a standard education, and basic healthcare available to all, minimum wages, employment contract law and so on.

    Taking socialism further towards the state dictating everything is really pushing the pendulum too far. We *have* largely found the right balance. Provided we all vote right in the next election, the out-of-balance leftwing policies that have been implemented by Labour will be tempered by some pragmatic right wing policy correction. -& thats democracy folks.

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  16. Peter S () says:

    I remember reading a biography of Karl Marx some years ago that painted a picture of him as being a person that invented an economic philosophy, but was also a person who, having come from a privelidged and fairly wealthy background, squandered not only his inheritance from his parents, but also that from several other relations on his failed attempts to play the stock exchange.

    In the USSR the public sector employees (about 99% of their workers) used to have a saying- “as long as the state pretends to pay us, we will pretend to work.”

    Socialism does not work as an economic model, which is no surprise because both it and communism were based upon the ideas of a person that could not make small scale economics work, but who thought he understood things well enough to invent a completely new methodology.

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  17. Kent Parker () says:

    You need tall trees (like tall poppies) because they provide shelter for others to grow. Jordan’s philosophy about equality of standard of living ignores age differences, and that after a lifetime of hard work, one’s standard of living may improve and the experience gained provide support and shelter for rising young adults, like Donald Trump and his relationship with his wannabe apprentices.

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  18. dad4justice () says:

    The leftie twits are very silent this morning, has jack frost frozen their stupid socialist cake holes ?

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  19. tim barclay () says:

    Of course many many lefties have god given intelligence which they use to boss around others to their values. The school teaching profession (whom I despise) are classic.

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  20. Ghost of Sonic () says:

    What a sad little lot you are really. Imagine farting against thunder or pissing into the wind. Your reactionary and unworkable “free market” ideologies are dangerous must stop at once.
    But even if we can’t shut you up by shouting louder and spreading the goodwill of largesse wider and wider we will see you out in the end for your children are being given the “true message” of social democracy as we speak through the schools and all social agencies and as you die one by one the voices of reason will at last be silenced. Ha Ha HA HA HA …..

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  21. stan () says:

    I’ll respond for the Lefties, just ‘cos dad4justice is a dumb provocative cunt who thinks he’s tuff shit.

    Good strawman David, taking the most extreme example of where Left-wing ideology can stretch to make your point. That’s as easy as arguing well since the Right believe in capitalism why not make it so that health care is provided on a user-pay’s basis, with no state-assistance for those who can’t afford it.

    This notion of being against society compensating for those who are not as “gifted” as others is classic individualist thinking. Where should it end? Should poor people have no state provided housing so they get as much opportunity to start up a business as the “born into an educated family” who gets a degree and becomes a CEO. Should those with disabilities be given money to compensate for the fact they have to spend money on medication and carers?

    This post explains much about the thinking of the Right. There is never ever a time where there is too little State involvement. Because until the poorest, most disabled, most disadvantaged member of society has a comparable standard of expectation to the most richest and privileged, then there is always less State intervention to be done.

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  22. dad4justice () says:

    stan spews “I’ll respond for the Lefties, just ‘cos dad4justice is a dumb provocative cunt who thinks he’s tuff shit.”

    Department of Corrections acted like you, that is ; ” inhumane” – nice one stan !!!

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  23. dad4justice () says:

    R I P Liam .

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  24. David Farrar () says:

    Stan makes one fatal mistake. I have not taken the most extreme example. I have merely copied Jordan’s post explaining the motivations for socialism – to overcome the immoral luck that gave some people drive and intelligence etc.

    Stan should look up a dictionary for strawman.

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  25. Ghost of Sonic () says:

    SSShhhh Stan, we must not try and use logic to defeat the righties, ‘cos we know it can never work.

    We must use stealth, the power of the state and its Treasury, mindless repetition and subterfuge and we must poison the minds of the young against their evil capitalist parents.

    We must destroy the concept of effort vs reward, winning vs losing and reward vs risk.

    Then and only then will we have truly won the war.

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  26. N.O. M.A.A.M. () says:

    If people are intrinsically morally equal then wealth redistribution is not a moral practise. It’s a practise based on emotion – envy- and has no place in a truly equal society. If some people have more skills than others – i.e. with more monetary value to them- too bad. It’s a socialists who define people equality in terms of money, not capitalists. It is socialists (and shallow capitalists) who judge people solely by their wealth.

    The Post-Feminist society is far more wealth-obsessed than the Evil Patriarchal Capitalist model. The consequence of materialistic, self-centred wimmin entering the workforce en masse that has decreased the value of workers, and consequently, wages: It’s called supply and demand. Now wimmins work for less than men did at the expense of the freedom they sacrificed. Who says money is about everything? It’s a means to an end. A society that gets that wrong seems to lose out in terms of everything… Thanks feminism! It’s all about the $$…

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  27. woppo () says:

    “Should ugly guys have the state provide paid prostitutes so they get as much sex as the “studs”. Should those with arsehole personalities be given more money to compensate for the fact they don’t get promoted as much as helpful people?”

    Not at all. These state should never intervene in those areas which are traditionally the function of political parties.

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  28. insider () says:

    WHen Jordan starts voluntary handing over his cash to make himself equal with the LCD or just the median, then I might take him seriously. I won’t hold my breath.

    I recommend “(quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron) “Harrison Bergeron”, a dystopian science fiction short story by Kurt Vonnegut. The theme of the story is egalitarianism and is set by the first line: “The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.”

    “In the story, societal equality has been achieved by handicapping the most intelligent, athletic or beautiful members of society down to the level of the lowest common denominator, a process central to the society which is overseen by the United States Handicapper General.”

    It’s a great story. Basically it takes the philosophy of Jordan to its logical but absurd extreme. If you are bright you have an implant that screams in your brain and prevents you having ‘deep thoughts’, athletes are weighed down by weights to slow them down to my level (YES!). Beauty is screened to prevent envy.

    The full but short story is here http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html

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  29. spector () says:

    Doesn’t Helen get paid more than Jordan? Hardly seems fair does it… he should go and talk to Helen about how socialism is supposed to work.

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  30. cyrus () says:

    But we all know you have your nose in the trough Peter Burns and yet you continue to bite the hand that feeds you.

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  31. bwakile () says:

    If fruitcakes like Jordan believe in “luck” as being being the driving force behind human evolution then I suggest that he spends all is money on that great socialist tax “lotto”

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  32. Walsingham () says:

    Jordan’s clearly never pondered questions like:
    (1) how can you accurately measure who’s talented, and who isn’t, in order to “compensate” the latter?
    (2) Ditto for intelligence (hint: the NCEA won’t be of any use)
    (3) ditto “capacities”. How do you tell what someone’s “capacity” is? What if they have ability, but are just lazy?

    And why don’t lefties emigrate to socialist paradises like Cuba? Surely learning Spanish is a small price to pay?

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  33. Peter S () says:

    There are 3 main classes of people that are motivated by their social conscience to help the less well off.

    A philanthropist is a person that takes their own money and distributes it to those they percieve as being in need.

    Robin Hood took money back from those that were stealing from the poor (by over taxing them), and returned it to the rightful owners.

    The socialist steals from anyone they perceive as being better off, and then distributes it to whoever they see fit.

    All see a need. One meets it from their own pocket, the second tries to put right injustice so that the person can make their own way.

    The third works from the position of false empathy. They are neither willing to help out of their own pocket nor willing to deal with the base issues that cause the problems. They steal from others, and then pretend that it is them providing the help.

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  34. Spitting Llama () says:

    David, I read this in a fictional novel a few days ago and it described the mindset perfectly for me:

    “Many people must be ruled to thrive. In their selfishness and greed, they see free people as their oppressors. They wish to have a leader who will cut the taller plants so the sun will reach them. They think no plant should be allowed to grow taller than the shortest, and in that way give light to all. They would rather be provided a guiding light, regardless of the fuel, than light a candle themselves.”

    That to me is the essence of someone who supports that world view.

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  35. dad4justice () says:

    “But we all know you have your nose in the trough Peter Burns and yet you continue to bite the hand that feeds you.”

    Good one cyrus – when can I expect the IRD cheque for my 57 cent tax rebate from the last year , as I want to put a down payment on a item at the $2 shop asap !

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  36. Neil () says:

    Welcome to NZ 2007…

    We all have to be treated like we have room temperature IQ’s and we have all the rights in the world and no responsibilities….

    Once we stop setting the bar at the lowest common denominator and allow people to move up without being trampled back into the herd then this country might get somewhere.

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  37. dad4justice () says:

    My computer is under severe attack -good bye for now .

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  38. Sam Dixon () says:

    Most of us on the left do not believe that everyone ought to have an equal share of society’s wealth regardless of the qualtiy or quantity of their contribution.

    We acknowledge that certain tasks are more vital or more demanding than others and that there should be encouragements to do those roles.

    However, naked markets clearly do not deliver that, it is often the crappiest jobs that someone has to do that pay the least becuase there is a bountiful supply of low skill aobur, whereas those of us fortunate enough to have rarer talents can demand a slice of the cake far alrger than or contribution. Laoubr renumeration is not determined by produciton but by supply and demand for that particular type of labour.

    Moreover, unchecked captialism, where those who own the means of production control the dispersal of production, simply lets wealth pool with those who have power/wealth in the first place – whether they got that power/wealth by means fair or foul.

    There is a place for society to ensure that those with fewer advantages in life are not left behind – it is not about trying to knock everyone down but helping the morally equal but less fortunate up to a humane standard of living, and that necessiates some redistribution of wealth and power.

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  39. Adolf Fiinkensein () says:

    Lindsay, what a wonder misinterpretation!! ‘Socialism is the antithesis of aspiration’

    Never a truer word spoke, especially when aspiration means ‘breathing.’ Ergo socialism means death. Hence the phrase ‘the dead hand of socialism.’

    Jordan will acheive his utopian dream when both he and Bill Gates are dead, buried and feeding worms in eaqual proportion to their respective bone/muscle/fat ratios.

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  40. Sam Dixon () says:

    DPF –

    You imply that doctors have to be paid more or everyone would prefer to be street cleaners but I for one would pick doctor if the pay was the same. Fact is its the crappiest jobs that are paid the worst. Societies where street cleaners were paid the same as doctors did not fail because of that, they failed for a host of reasons – not least that they were poorly run, corrupt, centrally-planned dictatorships where ones share of produciton was even more divorced from the conribution one made than it is under capitalism.

    Damian-

    Anyone who thinks that someone works at McDonald’s out of ‘choice’ in the same way that I choose my job rather than find another has no conprehension of how limited some people’s options are – for someone at McD’s in a basic fulltime role the choices are work there and make a pittance, work somewhere else where conditions are similar or try to go n a benefit where you will get even less, barely enough to survive – and if you push for better conditions, there’s always someone as desperate as you to take your place.

    Peter S-

    The flaw in your logic of the three different tyoes of givers (Philanthropist, Robin Hood, Socialist) is when you say the Philanthropist gives ‘his money’… the share of wealth he gets from the sum of society’s production is not inhereantly just or natural, it is not ‘his’ – he has not somehow produced many times more wealth than you or me, he takes what he can get, which is determined by how society is set up, and captialism allows him to take a whole lot.

    Maybe he is generous enough to redistribute some of his own accord (although studies show people on lower incomes give a higher portion of their income to charity) but that does not mean society should have to rely on the kindness of the wealthy to ensure an adequate standard of living for all – society can compensate for the inequates inhereant in its system of economic exchange (capitalism), and it is this that the left promotes.

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  41. Andrew Davies () says:

    If somehow all could be made equal by 8.00am tomorrow, by 8.05am there would be huge inequality as everyone chooses to use their resources in different ways. No problem to the left though, they would solve that by removing the choices.

    I recall hearing of an academic at an Australian university who tired of the left wing dogma of his fellow academics. He put notices on all the boards around campus announcing that from now on all campus staff, from dunny cleaners to professors, were to pool their salaries/wages and each draw equally from the pool. I don’t think they saw the funny side.

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  42. dad4justice () says:

    Sam Dixon I have now adopted battleship strategy and I am thankful for my intelligence analyst HQ . Nice day today ?

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  43. Peter S () says:

    Sam,

    You do make some fair points.

    Just as you do not appear to take the “pure socialist” viewpoint, but rather a more pragmatic blend of socialism and capitalism, so few on this blog would take a pure capitalist view of things either.

    It is really a case of arguing over the strength of the blend.

    For example, yes, low skills can mean having to take lower paid jobs, but that is not entirely a bad thing. It can provide the impetus for self improvement.

    Talking from experience I had qualifications but no work experience in my chosen area, and jobs were hard to find. So I worked for several years in low paid/skilled jobs to get by, whilst also looking for breaks. My break came in the form of an opportunity to get some work experience (at no higher rate than I was gettin in other work) by doing extra hours after work (where I was doing about 60-70 hours a week anyway). From taking that opportunity I changed the course of my career.

    Now I am in the position where I hold a key position in the company I work for. If I do well it helps the company, if I screw up it could put them out of business in short order. There is no-one else in the company that can do what I do (and only a couple of others in the country). I have no conscience pangs about earning more than others who carry less responsibility.

    The problem with the socialist model is that, whilst it helps those who genuinely struggle, it also reinforces and encourages the bad habits of the lazy. And, to be frank, there are far more lazy people than needy people.

    This builds an overhead that tends to be an increasing one, because people’s expectations grow over time.

    At the moment the country is experiencing, and heading for increased problems that are a result of an imbalance of too much social expenditure and too little personal responsibility.

    It has the potential to grind the economy to a halt, and already there are some worrying signs that this is already occurring.

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  44. Peter S () says:

    Sam,

    “The flaw in your logic of the three different tyoes of givers (Philanthropist, Robin Hood, Socialist) is when you say the Philanthropist gives ‘his money’… the share of wealth he gets from the sum of society’s production is not inhereantly just or natural, it is not ‘his’ – he has not somehow produced many times more wealth than you or me, he takes what he can get, which is determined by how society is set up, and captialism allows him to take a whole lot.”

    It is not a flaw in my logic, it is a flaw in the universe.

    There is no such thing as a fair share or just or natural.

    There is nothing fair about someone inheriting either wealth or the talent to create wealth.

    Neither is there anything fair about artificially punishing that person to try to correct the imbalance.

    It is similar to trying to fix historical treaty grievances. Fixing a historical injustice creates a present day one.

    The truth is that, whilst the ideal of making things fair is a noble and nice idea, we are simply incapable of doing it, and the harder we try, because of the complexity of the issue, the worse the mess we make doing it.

    True, doing absolutely nothing is bad. But the key is to try to minimise what is done to reduce the harm that we do by interfering.

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  45. bwakile () says:

    From my christian point of view God created sufficent wealth on this planet for everyone. We were given brains and hands to claim our share. If people dont wish to have their share through lack of education, effort, motivation etc then whose fault is it. Someone else will claim it instead. People should see life as an exciting challenge not some sort of handout queue. People who genuinely can’t help themsevles should be looked after.

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  46. james cairney () says:

    David, Jordan states:
    ” … to ensure that each person has a roughly comparable standard of living, quite independent of their luck in drive, intelligence, physical aptitude”

    Yet, you state: “On the right we think it is nonsense to have a society where everyone has the same standard of living”

    What I offer is that ‘comparable’ does not mean ‘the same’.

    Naturally, society needs incentives, but I do not read Jordan as advocating removing them, as opposed to advocating for some government intervention to smooth out the inherent inequalities that comes from leaving each to their own.

    Catering for what people ‘deserve’ must be part of any fair society, yet it cannot stand alone if that society is to be just. It is a balance and I fail to see Jordan arguing for anything else. Do you?

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  47. David Farrar () says:

    Sam argues communism has not failed, just that every state which has tried it, has done it badly.

    I love how some people never let emperical evidence and reality interfere with beliefs.

    And the real red herring is equating capitalism with absolutely no restraints on markets. Every capitalist society has significant market restraints. Almost all societies have a welfare system, have subsidisied or free education and health etc.

    But they key difference I see is the right want to set a minimum level of income and assistance for every person, so no-one is without the basics of life, while the left want to try and have everyone at around the same level (as we see with working for families)

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  48. Ex burger flipper () says:

    Sam,

    You seem to not be aware that people can migrate upwards through the wage and job scale.

    “Anyone who thinks that someone works at McDonald’s out of ‘choice’ in the same way that I choose my job rather than find another has no conprehension of how limited some people’s options are”.

    I was working in McDonalds 15 years ago. I earned the minimum wage. Before that I was picking fruit I earned less than the minimum wage. Today, I would be in the top 5% of income earners in NZ.

    15 years ago, I had no experience. Picking fruit and McDonalds provided me with work experience. My next job provided me with more as did my next job and next job.

    You seem to look at the world as it is now and think that there is no change and no hope. Do you really think that our burger flippers and subway sandwich makers are there for life (or even a few years)?

    You should take a poll of those who were working in McDonalds 10 years ago. The vast majority will no longer be working there and will be earning significantly more (I know where some of the people I was working with are now – You would be amazed)

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  49. james cairney () says:

    “while the left want to try and have everyone at around the same level (as we see with working for families)

    Do you really think Working for Families is an attempt to have the Muliaga family at around the same level as Graeme Hart?

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  50. Sam Dixon () says:

    Peter S –

    “It is really a case of arguing over the strength of the blend.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Too often on this blog its black vs white when sensible solutions are shades of grey and there can be reasonable debate over which shade is best.

    I think this from you:

    “The problem with the socialist model is that, whilst it helps those who genuinely struggle, it also reinforces and encourages the bad habits of the lazy. And, to be frank, there are far more lazy people than needy people.”

    hits on that interesting divide between right and left – I think most people that directly benefit from a redistributive system have been unfortunate or the captialist system has made them that way, therefore there is a role for the system to redress that balance, whereas you seem to think most people that benefit from redistribution are lazy…

    that difference goes back to the point about the morality of redistrubtion Jordon made – in my view its more morally right to redistribute because its not the most people at the bottom’s fault they are there, in your view is more morally acceptable to not redistribute becuase most of the receipants are in need through a moral failing (laziness)… but of course the difference, like you say, is only a matter of degree.

    I guess we would need some good numbers to really determine which way the balance between misfortune and laziness actually lies. If long-term benefit dependency can be equated to laziness (which is a not necessarily true), for example, there are less than 5000 people who have been on the dole more than 3 years.

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  51. Peter S () says:

    James,

    ‘What I offer is that ‘comparable’ does not mean ‘the same’.”

    What does it mean then?

    It is surely not meant to mean that you are to compare a slum with a mansion?

    Most people would read comparable as roughly similar, or even very similar.

    I think David’s interpretation was valid based on the language, though it was not necessarily what Jordan intended (you may well be right in your reading), but, in that case Jordan has used language that was overly open to misinterpretation.

    My problem is with the bit “quite independent of their luck in drive, intelligence, physical aptitude”

    Sorry, if someone has more drive then that means they are inclined to work harder, which means that they should be able to enjoy the benefits of that.

    Equal opportunity. Yes. 100% agree.

    After that, it is up to you to control the result.

    I’m also fine with helping those who are unable to succeed for genuine reasons e.g. age, sickness, disability & the like.

    There is a sad reality that some do need to experience genuine hardship so that they can benefit and learn from the motiviation that the experience gives.

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  52. james cairney () says:

    Thanks Peter, it is refreshing to get a balanced response.

    I entirely agree that incentives are required.

    However regarding equal opportunity, how would you argue for that to be achieved, with laws that apply to all equally and leave it at that? Or would you want to actually provide those less fortunate with the same opportunties?

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  53. James () says:

    The reason the left aren’t engaging with you on this is because there are better things to do with one’s time than argue with 40+ posts of misinformed crap. Your arguments are just stupid – no one is arguing for state mandated equalisation of all incomes or state control of everything. In fact, many socialists of a left-libertarian bent are as suspicious of state ownership or control as you neocons are.

    There are many roads to socialism, social democracy, or even a mild centre-left capitalist society such as the Labour Party is working to implement now. Comments like yours show a complete lack of understanding of this, and aren’t even worth responding to.

    I’m happy to discuss this at length, and often do. Just not in this forum, and not on these terms.

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  54. Sam Dixon () says:

    ex burger flipper –

    Yeah, and 3 years ago I was earning minimum wage and now I”m in the top 20% of incomes. We are not average – you and I had those jobs as temporary ways to make money on a career tajectory that was always going up mcuh higher – we had options and opportunity, for me those crappy jobs were just ways to get a bit of cash during uni, I suspect the same is true for you. But most people in poorly paid jobs are stuck in suhch jobs (and of course msot are not still there ten years later, they move around crappy jobs) becuase they do not have the opportunities (the education, the money from faimly, the talent) that we have.

    I worked one summer in a tannery, earned $11 an hour, there were jokers there – men with kids, families to support, earning the same as me on the same money and they weren’t going anywhere – they didn’t have the skills to do anything better paid – they were doing dangerous, scarring, stinking work that you and I would demand huge pay for but they could not, they had to support themselves somehow and they had to take what the boss would pay them for the work they could get.

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  55. Peter S () says:

    Sam,

    There are other benefits than the dole, and those tend to be the ones that act as a resting place for the long term welfare recipients.

    I’m not one to advocate removing welfare completely. I have had to make use of the unemployment benefit a number of times.

    The fact is that, were all benefits to be stopped overnight, few people would actually starve. Most would experience a sharp drop in living standards, but many would suddenly find a motivation to change their lifestyle that was not there previously.

    We can agree to disagree on the numbers. It would certainly be difficult to ascertain them accurately, and so we are probably both working mainly on gut feelings.

    Where we would differ most is probably the area of whether it is the person or their circumstances that are to blame.

    I tend towards the personal responsibility side. That is because, if you give a person an excuse they will take it. Simple human nature.
    If you tell someone it is their responsibility, even if it is not, then they are more likely to take steps to put things right themseleves.

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  56. towaka () says:

    I have lived in socialist Hungary where someone like a highly trained surgeon would live in a dingy flat and be on a waiting list for a lada like the rest of the plebs.

    Meanwhile the people with the money are the base types through black market dealings and rorting the system.

    So the hardworking and honest are punished or they have to join the criminal class if they want to get ahead.

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  57. phillipjohn () says:

    “On the right we think it is nonsense to have a society where everyone has the same standard of living. Certain countries have tried paying brain surgeons the same as street cleaners. The results are well known.”

    This is one of david’s favourite debating tactics – construct a reductio ad absurdum socialist straw-man, and proceed to publicly pummel it – and then puff his chest up and say “look how tuff I am guys. I just done gone vanquished socialism”.

    Jesus David – we all know that you’re smarter than this, so why drag debate down to this level of obfuscation and rhetoric?

    I know quite a few far-left activists, people much further left than the greens, let alone Jordan. Yet not one of them believes in hard-line communism. So who exactly are you arguing against?

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  58. David () says:

    I am left-wing. I admit it. HOWEVER, I do NOT and never have believed in equality of OUTCOME. I do firmly believe in equality of opportunity. Thus I characterize the right-wing view as saying “If you want to go to uni, earn the money to go”, as if someone on minimum wage could ever make enough to do so.

    I believe in a meritocracy, where those with ability AND motivation get their rewards. Those who are able and willing go to university, for example. That is NOT what the right-wing in North America, for example, would promote. Bush is a wonderful example of anti-meritocracy. His family are old money (from East Coast, not Texas). He got a “gentleman’s” C from Yale.

    I also do not believe in letting those less fortunate starve or be without a roof. I don’t believe they deserve a mansion. They didn’t earn that. But everyone deserves a MINIMUM standard of living. Anything else comes from their own hard work and drive.

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  59. Peter S () says:

    Sam,

    I’ll see your tannery and raise you 5 years cleaning out cow’s stomachs in an abbertoir! ;-)

    Quite a few of the people I worked with are still there 10 years later. Often the inability to change is based on fear rather than lack of opportunity. I had to take an initial pay cut to get out, but it was well worth it. I was one of the type you worked with, wife & young children to support.

    One thing is that the crappy jobs are always going to need doing. If a lot of people choose not to make use of the education system to the full, and are only qualified for that type of job, then the wages will be low. If people make use of the system, then the number of people needing that type of job will be low, and so there will be a shortage, and wages would rise to attract more qualified people that could do other work, but who choose to do it because of the money.

    james cairney,

    “However regarding equal opportunity, how would you argue for that to be achieved, with laws that apply to all equally and leave it at that? Or would you want to actually provide those less fortunate with the same opportunties?”

    We do provide all children with the opportunity of a decent education. What is unfortunate is that many scorn that opportunity.

    I paid for my laziness at school with 5+ years doing very unpleasant work. No one to blame for that except myself.

    I think we need to give school children a harsher message about the consequences of not taking opportunities. At the moment we give out the message that the state will look after you if you fail to do that for yourself. I don’t believe that is really helpful. It is hard to motivate someone to take an opportunity if you constantly protect them from the negatives results of them not doing it.

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  60. phillipjohn () says:

    Peter s:

    “It is hard to motivate someone to take an opportunity if you constantly protect them from the negatives results of them not doing it.”

    The benefit is barely enough to survive on. Nobody likes being on it. So I don’t accept that we constantly protect people from the negatives results of not striving for excellence. My point is proved by the fact that of the 3.6% of the labour force that is on the unemployment benefit, only 20% stay on is for more than 6 months (well under 1% of the labour force).

    I believe that “dumb-luck” factors such as ability/intelligence, social connections (often derived from who your family knows), and depression (or freedom from it) contribute more to one’s ability to bring home the bacon than laziness (or the absence of it). As such, it is just to make sure that people are compensated for their unfortunate life cicumstances – at least to the extent that they have humane living conditions, and access to resources which allow them to better position in the labour market.

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  61. phillipjohn () says:

    Peter s:

    “It is hard to motivate someone to take an opportunity if you constantly protect them from the negatives results of them not doing it.”

    The benefit is barely enough to survive on. Nobody likes being on it. So I don’t accept that we constantly protect people from the negatives results of not striving for excellence. My point is proved by the fact that of the 3.6% of the labour force that is on the unemployment benefit, only 20% stay on is for more than 6 months (well under 1% of the labour force).

    I believe that “dumb-luck” factors such as ability/intelligence, social connections (often derived from who your family knows), and depression (or freedom from it) contribute more to one’s ability to bring home the bacon than laziness (or the absence of it). As such, it is just to make sure that people are compensated for their unfortunate life cicumstances – at least to the extent that they have humane living conditions, and access to resources which allow them to better position in the labour market.

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  62. Horace () says:

    David, unless you have further examples, I hate to break it to you… but you may be a conservative.

    In which case “leftwing” is not a possibilitity.

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  63. Peter S () says:

    phillipjohn,

    I know about the benefit, I have had to make use of it. I was in that circumstance when the “black budget” occurred. Funnily enough I agreed with the reasons for the benefit reductions, even though I did not enjoy experiencing them.

    Few would disagree with your reasons for the need for benefits.

    What we are really disagreeing over is the level, length, qualifying circumstances and cost to the country.

    At the moment I, and many others, feel that the burden has become greater than the reasonable ability of those who are paying for it to foot the bill. In fact it is creating exactly the same imbalance that it is trying to correct, but is simply shifting the imbalance from one section of society to another.

    Creating an injustice to fix an injustice is always a false solution.

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  64. unaha-closp () says:

    Strange that Jordan Carter chooses to define the left by two quotes that directly contradict multi-culturalism.

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  65. Mrs Disgusted () says:

    PETER BURNS: if you hate socialism as much as you say, then why not stop drawing down your taxpayer benefit?

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  66. uk_kiwi () says:

    There are many right-wingers who extend this agument to the minimum wage- by removing the minimum wage, they argue, there will be many more jobs created, simple supply and demand.

    However, this more or less happened in NZ, the labour market was made “flexible” and employers could hire vast numbers of staff for very little. This meant they did not invest in capital (machinery) and meant low productivity growth, and eventually lower economic growth, depite high employment.

    Compare this to Australia, where the labour market was tightly regulated until recently, and the economy and productivity has grown much faster.

    It is ironic in the extreme that right-wingers are off to Aussie to enjoy the higher wages brought about by their union movement!

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  67. llew () says:

    “Sam argues communism has not failed, just that every state which has tried it, has done it badly.”

    This reminds me of something my cousin told me about our grandfather – who was a coal miner in Wales, marched on Parliament at some stage (and claimed that shots were fired at them from Winston Churchill’s residence as they passed). But anyway, he told my cousin that he & his friends were all members of the communist party at the time because they were the only ones who appeared to be opposed to Franco’s fascists.

    I’d always wondered how devoted they were to the cause :)

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  68. Lance () says:

    David
    I would in general agree with you, the trouble is, the ‘leftist’ govt in NZ is creating gross injustices while pursuing their policies, and egalitarian anomalies in general.

    I find it irritating to be doubly taxed by engaging in something as wicked as R+D while there are grants for hip-hop tours, the scum of the earth criminals (as opposed to normal.. less than 30 offences type criminals) get the best lawyers while descent people go broke under legal bills, P-lab bakers burn themselves and get the best treatment while law abiding patients are kept on the waiting lists, etc etc etc etc.

    I really don’t see Labour addressing these injustices in my lifetime.

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  69. uk_kiwi () says:

    There are many right-wingers who extend this agument to the minimum wage- by removing the minimum wage, they argue, there will be many more jobs created, simple supply and demand.

    However, this more or less happened in NZ, the labour market was made “flexible” and employers could hire vast numbers of staff for very little. This meant they did not invest in capital (machinery) and meant low productivity growth, and eventually lower economic growth, depite high employment.

    Compare this to Australia, where the labour market was tightly regulated until recently, and the economy and productivity has grown much faster.

    It is ironic in the extreme that right-wingers are off to Aussie to enjoy the higher wages brought about by their union movement!

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  70. Ragged Glory () says:

    Both left and right are lost. They are wings of the same bird.

    http://tcrnews2.com/ChristNietzscheIslam.html

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  71. James () says:

    What has been missed by both sides in this debate is…by what right does anyone have to live of of the earnings of another? Why does the person who “has” have an obligation to the person who “hasn’t?” At the heart of Socialism is the ethic of altruism…the idea that we are all our brothers keepers by virtue of being born and that if we don’t undertake this obligation willingly its morally justifiable to force us to…which is what State welfare and taxation is.

    The fact that human beings are created as individuals with independent minds is ignored and evaded.True Capitalism respects this fact….Socialism hates it and wants it destroyed.

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  72. John Phillip () says:

    Hey Phillip John – have you reconsidered your position from the other day – you know, that you aspire to be a senior academic? It was hilarious then, and is still hilarious now, but as a socialist maybe you don’t see it that way?

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  73. SPC () says:

    I would have defined the social democratic left as for equality of opportunity, public provision of services and the safety net. After all it’s via public provision in education and health and support for the poor into housing etc that equality of opportunity exists – as John Key would know.

    I think it’s somewhat disingenuous for mein host to suggest that “material” (income and wealth) success (promotion) is associated on being a nice guy – such success is often based primarily on a focus on this. Not all management is premised on promoting the “nice guy”. A lot of the actual “nice guys” focus their life on helping others, not their own personal material success. If it were not for such attitudes we would not retain as many professionals who work way below international wages in our education and health sectors.

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  74. unaha-closp () says:

    This Labour government pays the lowest relative level of individual benefit of any government in the past 30 years. Instead it has moved to subsidise children. By this very minor measure the current government is more focused of equalising opportunities than outcomes.

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  75. phD () says:

    Wasn’t Phillip John working on a thesis?

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  76. phillipjohn () says:

    Nicely put UK kiwi – I’ve been advancing the same argument here for quite some time. The trouble is that it creates cognitive dissonance in the minds of the market fundamentalists, or “true believers”. As such you won’t be listened to.

    Peter S:

    “What we are really disagreeing over is the level, length, qualifying circumstances and cost to the country.

    At the moment I, and many others, feel that the burden has become greater than the reasonable ability of those who are paying for it to foot the bill.”

    Is this really a reasonable argument when:

    A) At any given moment for the last 3 years, less than 1% of the labour force will have been receiving the unemployment benefit for more than 6 months? and

    B) If you’re on the benefit you’re pretty much guaranteed to be living in squalor, and unable to participate in society?

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  77. Fred () says:

    Ah, socialism….
    Works fine for little black ants.

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  78. stan () says:

    From my christian point of view God created sufficent wealth on this planet for everyone. We were given brains and hands to claim our share. If people dont wish to have their share through lack of education, effort, motivation etc then whose fault is it. Someone else will claim it instead. People should see life as an exciting challenge not some sort of handout queue. People who genuinely can’t help themsevles should be looked after.

    Posted by bwakile | June 13, 2007 10:22 AM

    What a beautiful Africa He created then aye? Oh yeah leave a message for my friend with multiple sclerosis please.

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  79. Anon () says:

    Yes Fred – don’t you think Phillip John is such a smug socialist?

    “If you’re on the benefit you’re pretty much guaranteed to be living in squalor, and unable to participate in society”. Anyone (apart from Phillip John obviously – since he has a closed mind to these sorts of matters) remember the Kahui family and their taxpayer-funded lifestyle?

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  80. Peter S () says:

    phillipjohn,

    I have lived on the benefit on more than one occasion. Squalor is a matte of choice not a matter of income. So is participation in society.

    There are more benefits than the unemployment, and I simply disbelieve the bit about 3 years. What has happened is the shuffling of people between benefit types to disguise the numbers and time lengths.

    The UK Kiwi argument sounds nice, but does not wash either.

    When I emigrated to NZ in 1989 jobs were hard to come by.

    By 1999 the economy was completely different, and the job situation had improved beyond recognition. By then NZ was also doing very well in comparison with Australia. (The opposite of 1989)

    Since then the Aussies ditched their Labour government for a right wing one, and NZ ditched their National government for a Labour one.

    The economic positions have reversed again.

    Australia look as if they may be about to go left, just as NZ are going to swing right, so my pick is that the two economies will narrow in difference yet again.

    ” The trouble is that it creates cognitive dissonance in the minds of the market fundamentalists, or “true believers”. As such you won’t be listened to.”

    Actually, if you put forward arguments that held water you would be listened to.

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  81. Sam Dixon () says:

    James –

    Look at my posts on this thread, and we’ve dicussed this before…

    markets do not result in people getting a right to consume (ie money) that equals the amount they produce – the share someone gets (ie the profits from a business or rent, wages etc) is determined by the relative power that person has compared to otehr people, be it from holding capital or having a rarer talent or whatever – it is not ‘their’ production in the sense of a share of societies total production equal to the amount that personally produce.

    You ask why someone who ‘has’ has an morals obligation to give to someone who ‘hasn’t’ – individual’s morals don’t enter into it, our colelecitve morals do and society recognises that markets do not have fair outcomes and so take action to redistribute resoruces more fairly.

    Now, that’s a moral argument – but the reason we have redistribution of wealth and power, including the provision of social services, is as much a practical one as a moral one… the wealthy and powerful need a healthy, educated workforce to produce wealth – those factories don’t operate themselves, and that workforce needs to be content with the share of its production that it gets to consume, and its living conditions generally, otherwise there will be counter-productive social disorder (jokers stealing for bread) and there’s the risk of revolution…

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  82. phillipjohn () says:

    “remember the Kahui family and their taxpayer-funded lifestyle?”

    of course there are people who abuse the system. But as I’ve shown, they’re the exception rather than the rule.

    Here it is again for your benefit:

    Less than 1% of the labour-force have been receiving the unemployment benefit for more than 6 months.

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  83. SPC () says:

    The gap in wages between Oz and New Zealand widened while National was in office 1990-1999.

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  84. phillipjohn () says:

    Peter S: if you want some cognitive dissonance, read this treasury paper. It proves UK Kiwi’s point.

    Parham, D. and Roberts, P. (2004) “Productivity Growth and its sources: How do NZ and Australia Compare?’”Productivity: Performance, Prospects and Policies. Workshop convened by The Treasury, Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the Ministry of Economic Development. Wellington, New Zealand.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/productivity/workshoppapers2004/pw-parham.pdf

    ” Squalor is a matte of choice not a matter of income. So is participation in society.”

    yes, you’re mostly right that’s why I have said that “At any given moment for the last 3 years, less than 1% of the labour force will have been receiving the unemployment benefit for more than 6 months”

    if you don’t believe this go and look at the statistics – they’re here:

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/analytical-reports/labour-market-statistics-2005.htm

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  85. Peter S () says:

    Sam,

    good point about the practical need for some redistribution.

    That has to be balanced against the danger created by the redistribution its self.

    Julius Caesar created a welfare problem for Rome by providing free bread to the lower class (but vote entitled) mob. In effect he bought his way to power. The problem was that, as time went on, the mob gained too much power and to many members, and the expectations grew from just bread to entertainment (the circus). To retain power successive Emperors had to direct more and more of the wealth of Rome to keeping the mob happy in return for keeping their position.

    OK, that was an extreme example, but there are distinct parallels.

    The other danger is that putting too much pressure on the middle class creates the same type of discontent as ignoring the lower classes.

    Labour has got the balance seriously wrong, and are going to pay for that come election time.

    SPC,

    “The gap in wages between Oz and New Zealand widened while National was in office 1990-1999. ”

    True, but the tax burden on the Aussies in that period largely negated the higher wages in Aussie.

    Since then not only has the wage gap increased further, but the proportion of wages that the Aussies are paying in tax has decreased, accentuating the difference.

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  86. frederico () says:

    The NZ centre left undoubtedly favour an “equalisation” of wealth, health etc but by there actions and their denial of the failure of socialism actually confine many struggling people to a lower standard of living.

    A prime example is healthcare. We now have a well established 2 tier health system in NZ. In the private sector a patient is seen propmtly, by the surgeon/physician of their choice and a procedure, if neccessary carried out at an appropriate time by the chosen surgeon. Only those who can afford health insurance can do this.

    The uninsured can wait >6-12 months for an appointment, with a doctor they do not choose. The doctor may or may not be a specialist, maybe very junior. If they then “qualify” for a public operation they then wait even longer for said procedure to be carried out by….whoever and they stand a 30% chance of it being cancelled on the day.

    This government has lied about health care. The public system cannot and is not coping with demand. They know this. They know it will get worse. But they have led the voting public to keep their trust in public health as it is a fundamental tennet of the centre left beliefs.

    These people not eligible, or waiting interminably long, who voted labour et al, now cannot get health insurance as they have a pre existing condition.

    They are hence worse off, all for the sake of another failed socilaist dream

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  87. Fred () says:

    Anon….what gives me greatest pleasure is that they are “smug socialists” with someone else’s money…. declining to contribute to welfare as I do.

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  88. SPC () says:

    “Since then not only has the wage gap increased further, but the proportion of wages that the Aussies are paying in tax has decreased, accentuating the difference.”

    Sort of – our levels on tax on families have been reduced too.

    But sure their wages have continued to increase more for most (there are exceptions – our minimum wage has increased a bit and some education and health staff got some real increases).

    We do need to cut tax on workers – especially those lower income workers (by cutting the bottom rate to 10 cents and broadening it’s band to allow them into Kiwi Saver and or home ownership) who did not gain by owning homes c2001 before prices doubled. But we must also contain the housing market and ease pressure on exporters.

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  89. phillipjohn () says:

    “what gives me greatest pleasure is that they are “smug socialists” with someone else’s money…. declining to contribute to welfare as I do.”

    That’s quite a smug statement there Fred.

    p.s. Nice that you left the irony for me to point out. Cheers ;-)

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  90. Peter S () says:

    “At any given moment for the last 3 years, less than 1% of the labour force will have been receiving the unemployment benefit for more than 6 months”

    Correct.

    They kick you off & put you on a course. Then, once it is over you reapply ofr the benefit.

    In Hawkes Bay there are many people that work for just the peak of the fuit picking season and possibly the thinning season, and spend the rest of the year on benefits.

    It is actually quite hard to stay on the benefit for more than 6 months without being shuffled or getting a short term job (3 months).

    The unemployment benefit is not the resting place of the long term unemployed anyway. There are a number of other benefits that are used to serve that purpose.

    The statistics are accurate in their own way, but they do not, and are not designed to, show reality.

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  91. phillipjohn () says:

    “In Hawkes Bay there are many people that work for just the peak of the fuit picking season and possibly the thinning season, and spend the rest of the year on benefits.”

    But where are the statistics to support your argument Peter? Unfortunately it appears that you’ve got nothing but your own flimsy anecdotal evidence, and I’m afraid that just isn’t going to cut it. Not even close mate.

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  92. Grant ( a new one) () says:

    Apart for the contrived reduction in unemployment that PJ and co trot out during such posts as this, can anyone tell me what other achievements our socialist government of the last 8 years can point to as having advanced the quality of the lives of this country’s populace ?

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  93. phillipjohn () says:

    new Grant:

    the so called socialist Labour party have done bugger all to improve people’s lives, because, well they aren’t socialists. We are still one of the most economically right-wing countries in the world – we have an employment relations regime that is dominated by “free-contracting” – which ensures some of the lowest wage growth in the world. Simply put – you take out the unions and you take away the wage growth – that’s the experience of both the US and New Zealand. I wish that I could post the graphs that I’ve made showing this relationship.

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  94. Peter S () says:

    “But where are the statistics to support your argument Peter?”

    Lies, damn lies and statistics.

    Fraid I don’t have time for any of them.

    The fact that my brother in law used to work in the area of seasonal employment in HB (as an employer at times and as someone sourcing workers for through WINZ for other employers) gives me plenty of “flimsy annecdotal evidence.”

    I have also dealt with WINZ on a personal basis in the past when looking for work.

    You can pooh pooh what I say if you want.

    I’ll take practical experience of the real world over the detachement from reality that is the norm for academia any day of the week.

    Sure, I have no papers or statistics to quote. Just experience and observation of the real world.

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  95. phillipjohn () says:

    “Sure, I have no papers or statistics to quote. Just experience and observation of the real world.”

    We’ve all got that Peter: Despite my being an evil socialist, I’ve been fruit picking before, and I’ve worked several other crappy jobs while I’ve been a student. But these experiences are always coloured by our own personal prejudices. The fact is that I’ll go for the cold, hard data over the “well I reckon” standard pub arguments any day.

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  96. Grant ( a new one) () says:

    Ummm PJ, I don’t think you’re quite correct with this bit:

    “the so called socialist Labour party have done bugger all to improve people’s lives, because, well they aren’t socialists.”

    The following is taken directly from the Labour Party Constitution and Rules.

    NAME
    1. The name of the Party shall be the “New Zealand Labour Party”
    PRINCIPLES
    2. The New Zealand Labour Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles-
    • All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot
    • The natural resources of New Zealand belong to all the people and these resources, and in particular non-renewable resources, should be managed for the benefit of all, including future generations.
    • All people should have equal access to all social, economic, cultural, political and legal spheres, regardless of wealth or social position, and continuing participation in the democratic process.
    • Co-operation, rather than competition, should be the main governing factor in economic relations, in order that a greater amount and a just distribution of wealth can be ensured.
    • All people are entitled to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.
    • All people, either individually or in groups, may own wealth or property for their own use, but in any conflict of interest people are always more important than property and the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.
    • The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand and that the Treaty should be honoured in government, society and the family.
    • Peace and social justice should be promoted throughout the world by international co-operation and mutual respect.
    • The same basic human rights, protected by the State, apply to all people, regardless or race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious faith, political belief or disability.

    http://www.labour.org.nz/labour_team/nz_council/index.html

    They’re socialists alright.
    G

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  97. phillipjohn () says:

    Grant:

    They’re probably socialists “in principle”, but the figures regarding income distribution and wage growth indicate the they’re either:

    A) Constrained by institutional factors within New Zealand. i.e. the loci of power is still with the business community. This view is supported by the lengths that Labour will go to to please Business New Zealand (mood of the board room).

    B) They’re just masquerading as socialists.

    Personally I give more weight to A, but there may be a bit of B there as well.

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  98. bwakile () says:

    Hi Stan
    Actually I know plenty of people in Africa who have achieved much through hard work and using the resources available to them , just like here. I also have known plenty of Africans who have sat about waiting for the big handout, just like here. Leopards dont change their spots.

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  99. Peter S () says:

    “fact is that I’ll go for the cold, hard data”

    Where does the cold hard data come from?

    Statistics NZ? That would be from the questions that are framed to get a certain type of answer.

    “these experiences are always coloured by our own personal prejudices.”

    So is any data collection method.

    To think that you get the true raw statistics is naive.

    Statistics have to be collected, and the results are coloured by the questions that are framed to collect the data. The colouring comes from those that frame the questions, and it is impossible to avoid that in some form or another.

    There is also the question of which statistics you collect and work on, and whether the collected statistics are truely relevant to the question being asked.

    For example, because people do manage to get seasonal work and short term work, and also go on work training courses which count as work, then asking the question about length of time on abenefit (as a continuous spell) is a quite meaningless statistic because it filters out those who may have been unemployed for the majority of a time period, but who have not been unemployed continuously over that time period.

    The truth is that you can make statistics say anything you want them to. It is just a matter of asking the right questions and then presenting the resulting data properly.

    As a result I regard statistics as having very limited use.

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  100. phillipjohn () says:

    Ok peter – You stick with your pub rhetoric and i’ll stay with the statistics. No problem.

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  101. insider () says:

    PJ

    the issue with the 6 month stat is that it doesn’t reveal those who keep coming off and on the benefit. I’m not sure if that is collated but would be a useful stat. Should be easily able to be done by IRD number

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  102. gd () says:

    Dont you just love the lefties and their Dont do as I do Do as I say Classic case is public transport the Lefties who bang on about it yet they drive V8 gas gusslers. And thats just one example.Bloody command and control freaks the lot of them Always wanting to tell us what we must do and must not do Well Foxtrot Oscar Jordan and all his Leftie mates.

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  103. Peak Oil Conspiracy () says:

    GD – please don’t tempt Phillip John to preach to us about peak oil!!! A V8 is like a rag to Phillip John’s bull.

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  104. helmet () says:

    PJ I think you’re being a bit of a prat mate. Pete’s observation about seasonal workers wasn’t so horrifically outrageous was it? I’ve seen it too in Gisborne. I guess nobody’s published a paper on it yet so for poor old PJ it must not exist.

    Just because you’ve made a graph pj and read it in a book doesn’t necessarily make it so. And if you are an academic you should know that all stats aren’t equally reliable and can be manipulated easily enough. Consider the tv1 polls and the tv3 polls for example. Both credible sources of information, but always different.

    I’m an academic as well I guess, studying for an LLM, but I still think that what you’re calling pub rhetoric is usually worth a listen. Especially in political analysis as it’s that same pub rhetoric which often represents the bulk of the population’s views. You just come across as a little pompous and very condescending, it sure doesn’t help you win an argument.
    You’re asking Pete to prove that seasonal workers go back on the dole afterwards. If you think he’s so wrong why don’t you prove it wrong instead of getting all nasty?

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  105. Damian () says:

    Sam,

    If someone wants to work at McDonald’s then that is their wont and no one is forcing them to work there. If you think they are, tell me who?

    Nonetheless that is no reason to begrudge others who earn more for the simple fact they earn more but put in the same amount of “effort”. That is extraordinary socialist nonsense.

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  106. woppo () says:

    Peter S said:
    “The unemployment benefit is not the resting place of the long term unemployed anyway.”

    The situation with seasonal workers has been going for as long as anyone can remember. The old Department of Labour took their situation into account when assessing their needs. As it’s an effective subsidy towards ensuring some degree of continuity of labour supply – i.e. the state supplements the workers when the growers don’t need them – then I’d suggest that the employers would be the first to complain about its removal.

    A lot of benefit payments can be seen as a form of subsidy to business, for example the topping-up of low-paid part-time workers’ incomes. While it may be a little inconvenient when mounting a purist argument, it’s a fact of life in practically every industrialised nation.

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  107. Pub Rhetoric () says:

    Phillip John waxes on about “pub rhetoric”. You are a loser Phillip John. No-one wants to drink with you. So you have no mates. And no idea what “pub rhetoric” really is. No wonder you are out of touch, Phillip John. Go and finish your thesis. Chop chop.

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  108. J-B () says:

    If Phillip John is the fellow I’m thinking of, then I know him. And the “smug socialist” label suggested above is right on the money.

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  109. side show bob () says:

    Evolution is right wing. I have yet to see an animal that can not feed it’s self, can not feed and take care of it’s young or takes the easy road and just lies in the sun. Their genes quickly disappear. Nature is not equal, never has been never will be.

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  110. emmess () says:

    Sorry in advance about the language

    But I am fucking furious
    This year I got a 12% pay rise, I was extremely happy but now I just worked out will have less fucking money in the hand
    $120 increase
    -$41 tax
    -$29 abatement from working for families
    -$30? abatement from accomodation supplement (25% of income?)
    -$45 from Kiwislaver (I know, I know it’s voluntary but it’s still money I won’t have access to)

    That’s $25 a week less than before
    Motherfucken government
    I never thought it was more possible to fucken hate the Gaybar Party than I did before
    Fuck you very much Michael Cuntlen

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  111. SPC () says:

    At 33cents, it’s not $41 extra in tax on $120.

    I am not sure what your accomodation supplement is based on (rent or mortgage).

    How much is the government paying into your KiwiSaver account and how much can you transfer to paying off a mortgage (commisserations if you were not lucky enough to buy in when housing was cheaper)?

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  112. Redbaiter () says:

    “That is, public policy uses a range of tools – sometimes markets, sometimes community provision, sometimes state provision – to ensure that each person has a roughly comparable standard of living,”

    This is why I hold socialists in such utter unspeakable contempt. The “high minded” ideals expressed by Mr Carter are nothing but a hollow stinking lie. His flowery words are nothing but a cheap euphemism for theft.

    There is no “range of tools”. There is only one real component to the political manipulations of the left and that is they steal from Peter, who doesn’t vote for them, and deliver the proceeds of that theft to Paul, who of course votes for the left to earn his reward, a share of the loot.

    Socialists are not only immoral thieving scum because they steal money and use it to buy their way to power, they’re immoral scum also because they lie so brazenly about their disgustingly immoral actions, and lie in the most dishonest manner, by cloaking their obsession with power with faked altruism.

    Worst of all tho, the most contemptible of all of their actions that generate contempt, is that their sick power seeking has attacked and gradually undermined the principle of democracy, and turned each election into a cynical vote buying farce. This is the legacy of the socialists, their unforgivable crime- the utter destruction of the democratic process.

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  113. John Ansell () says:

    “- to ensure that each person has a roughly comparable standard of living, quite independent of their luck in drive, intelligence, physical aptitude etc.”

    Luck in drive??

    If you socialists really believe that drive is a gift of luck, rather than an act of will, here’s your chance to put your Marx where your mouth is…

    If you’re a student with the ‘drive’ to get an A in your next exam, ask your professor to downgrade you to a C so that a classmate with no such ‘luck’ who scores an E can be upgraded to the same middling mark as you.

    Sound fair?

    What do you mean, ‘No’?

    Well, if you’re not prepared to redistribute your grade to produce an equal outcome, then sorry…

    …you just lost the moral authority to demand that the government redistribute income from people who work to people who won’t.

    (As distinct from people who genuinely can’t.)

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  114. Matt () says:

    Actually you right wing guys are idiots.

    If you stop paying the poor in this country they will take it, which incidentally seems perfectly acceptable considering how the right wing thinks, that way the poor guy with a knife proves once and for all how weak and pathetic you all are.

    Frank Bernanke knows this he wrote as much in “Principles of Economics”, you pay your taxes or you will be overthrown, simple. Your capitalist ways are a privilege, not a right and eventually the worm turns.

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