Jordan Part II

December 2nd, 2007 at 6:00 pm by David Farrar

Jordan replies to my post which replied to his post. He says he is not advocating Labour pursue the policies of the 1950s.

I of course accept he does not advocate that, but point out I think it was a reasonable interpretation to his statement:

It is a disconcerting thought that what was a “third way” fifty years ago is now seen by many as hard left

That suggested to me a belief that those third way policies of 50 years ago shouldn’t now be seen as hard left, and hence should be considered as having merit.

But just as I can wistfully refer to the policies of the late 80s, that doesn’t mean I am advocating they be adopted as policies for 2008 – so Jordan was probably meaning something similiar.

Jordan makes the case again for equality of outcome rather than just equality of opportunity.  Again, to little surprise, I disagree.  With equality of outcome as a goal, then there is no government measure which can’t be justified.  The state will take a bigger and bigger role in every aspect of our lives as people aim for more equal outcomes.

This is not to say that any government of the right or left is ever going to say “No more work to be done”.  There will always be government interventions.  But I prefer an approach where one is sceptical of the need to intervene, and one requires a high level of proof that an intervention will actually be beneficial. I see interventions as the last resort, not the first resort.

Jordan concludes:

David, I think, sees New Zealand as half way to Poland circa 1980.  I see New Zealand as somewhere just left of Thatcherism and having a long way to go before we get back to a sensible middle ground. Our unequal incomes, our stratified society, the terribly different outcomes on health and education outcomes, the extraordinarily liberal labour market, all are evidence in my favour. We will have simply to agree to disagree.

Not quite half way to Poland, but I do see other countries getting on with having a smaller state, and see us losing the advantages our reforms of the 80s and 90s gave us.

I do hope that Dr Cullen responds to Jordan’s suggestion that his policies are “just left of Thatcherism”.  Of course I would take that as a huge compliment but suspect Dr Cullen may not see the comparison so favourably!


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