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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17 Responses to “Jordan Part II”

  1. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    I would be a lot happier if we returned to the industrial awards system (which most devloped economies currently have) – which used to provide much better working conditions and more equitable wage distribution. The market is a primitive for allocating wage rates, and leads to a more polarised and violent type of society (see the USA for example) – highest mudrder rates, highest imprisonment rates by a factor of five.

    Putting the unemployment benefit up to about 30% (single person living alone over 25yrs of age) of the average wage, as it was in the late 1980s (it’s currently at about 25% of the average wage) – would cut poverty rates significantly, and lead to a more inclusive soicety.

    With these changes NZ would be on path to becoming a much better place to live.

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  2. Manolo (14,065 comments) says:

    With all due respect DPF I think you’re wasting your time trying to convince a dye-in-the-wool socialist like Jordan.

    He is entrenched in his views and will not change them whatever persuasion you exert. Some people will be left-wingers for life despite of the fact their failed ideology has caused more misery than any other human-induced calamity.

    Reasoning with them is useless, almost impossible at times.

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  3. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “He is entrenched in his views and will not change them whatever persuasion you exert. Some people will be left-wingers for life despite of the fact their failed ideology has caused more misery than any other human-induced calamity.”

    The stupid thing about comments like this is that many of us on the left feel the same way about you doctrinaire market liberals. They’re pointless.

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  4. Nick C (336 comments) says:

    “With these changes NZ would be on path to becoming a much better place to live.”

    Exept all the economically successful people who are overtaxed will be moving to Australia, and there will be no one to be the tax base.

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  5. GNZ (228 comments) says:

    I would be interested in the study regarding who exactly is moving to australia. It is quite possible that we are loosing our less than averages faster than we are loosing our better than averages.

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  6. Tina (687 comments) says:

    A socialist:

    “The state of being an envious embittered naive underperformer with an eye on the work-product of others and a valid vote.”

    I’m getting a whiff of Jord….Eastern Europe, late fifties.

    That’s it.
    This fella and our own Mickey “cloth capped” Cullin will get on like a house on fire.

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  7. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    What is the difference between ‘equality of outcome’ and communism?

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  8. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    In communism they didn’t get equality of outcome. Remember, “some more equal than others.” Equality of outcome would be communism that actually worked.

    God knows how anybody thinks equality of outcome is a useful thing – it would completely destroy all incentives.

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  9. Tina (687 comments) says:

    Interesting GNZ…

    I’ve always thought the brightest and the “goers” fled the dead hand of controlled outcomes.

    The brightest are easily explained, the “goers” are the most interesting.

    Without exception the 6 Kiwi couples near me are in business…typically husband is an employing tradesman and wife runs some other business.

    Try running socialist bullshit to people who work 12 hour days….

    They avoid like the plague “envious embittered naive underperformers with an eye on the work-product of others.”

    Jord better stick to NZ where his message will be doubtlessly well received.

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  10. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Quite so PaulL.

    I don’t know why Labourites don’t just own up and say, “we’re communists and proud of it.”

    “We believe in removing incentives from people with initiative, and we’re happy to consign New Zealand to the very predictable consequences – total dysfunction.”

    The headline in the Weekend Herald indicates that they’re well on track…

    ‘NZ stuck as other nations prosper.’

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  11. iiq374 (262 comments) says:

    GNZ – totally anecdotal evidence but:
    Of the top 5 academics from the year before me, my year, and the year subsequent (IE 15 people) – there is 1 left in NZ.

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  12. Anthony (798 comments) says:

    Sure there are other nations that have higher tax rates and maybe less inequality than NZ while still being richer – but they have one or more advantages over NZ being a small, isolated, sparsely populated, very young country with little natural resources.

    If Jordan wants more equality of outcome I’m sure it can be managed but I’m also sure the policies he is advocating would push us further down the OECD ranks.

    I note that one of the few areas where DPF and Jordan appear to agree is the need for strong government intervention in telecommunications policy to ensure fibre to the home, etc. This is one area where I find DPF departs from his usual rational debate and does not believe that the costs and benefits of such intervention should be weighed up.

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  13. Tina (687 comments) says:

    C’mon down Ant….

    “If Jordan wants more equality of outcome I’m sure it can be managed”.

    Errr……not without currency controls ….,
    a***hole.

    We’ll be gone, you’ll be bankrupt.
    Enjoy.

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  14. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Further to that Weekend Herald front page article, the subhead reads, ‘UN index finds we have failed to advance in the past decade’.

    This will come as no surprise to those on the right.

    Lefties, meanwhile, will do their best to deflect and distract from such an inconvenient truth.

    Abusing the messenger is a bit tricky in this case, since it’s their beloved UN reporting on our decade of stagnation in their Human Development Index. (Australia 3rd, Ireland 5th, Spain leapfrogging us from 21st to 13th, NZ in a deepening rut at 19th.)

    The best spin they can manage is Wastemaster-General Cullen saying we need to take these results with “a grain of salt” and that the report showed that New Zealand was “very much a First World Nation”.

    Yes, I suppose a country that’s bogged down at 19th for human development and 22nd and falling in an OECD of 30 nations is technically still hanging in there in the First World.

    But what a disgrace that our Deputy PM should need to reassure us that we’ve not yet become a banana republic.

    With his track record, it’s only a matter of time.

    “Far from standing still,” he enthuses, “New Zealand over the past eight years has made huge strides.”

    So, have we become a leader in the manufacture of outsized trousers?

    Why no, he’s referring to the longest period of economic growth in more than a generation – as if his government had something to do with it.

    His job has been to take advantage of those favourable conditions – created by previous governments with long-term vision – and use the windfall to cure more sick people, stop 20 percent of our kids leaving school illiterate, keep our sisters safe from dangerous criminals, etc.

    That’s been his job. But by all these criteria he and his boss have failed abysmally.

    To call their movement ‘progressive’ is like calling North Korea democratic.

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  15. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    “Equality of outcomes” is nothing but destructive envy at work, pure and simple. Jordan and his ilk would rather be a slave like the North Koreans, as long as everybody else is in the same boat, rather than endure the sight of others better off than they are.

    The freest countries, although they might have inequality, have the world’s best-off poorest people, end of story. Manolo is right. It is impossible to reason with these people.

    My pick of the best book for lefties to read, would be David Horowitz’ “Left Illusions”. However, Horowitz’ closing comment in the book goes something like this: “I reluctantly conclude that reason supported by evidence, is insufficient to dislodge from the human heart, a lie grounded on desire”.

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  16. freethinker (694 comments) says:

    GNZ – I actually lived in the UK during the Thatcher era and Jordans view is far removed from the reality.Thatcher did a lot of the groundwork that has put the UK into the No 4 spot of western economies which I am confident Big Ears Brown will reverse.

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  17. GNZ (228 comments) says:

    > I’ve always thought the brightest and the “goers” fled the dead hand of controlled outcomes.

    > Of the top 5 academics from the year before me, my year, and the year subsequent (IE 15 people) – there is 1 left in NZ.

    ok maybe you both have different evidence. I would just like to see the facts.

    We export a lot of people but most of the people that I hear of who are going to Australia are truck drivers, security guards and such – goers indeed, but not the brightest.

    Most of the top academics I know were from overseas, and are still in NZ.
    The one exception I can think of is actually not a bad thing since they are definitely coming back in the long run – probably with a lot of money.

    Also I don’t know if any prospective government in NZ is going to get anywhere near making us more competitive than Australia in the next decade in terms of after tax income. Australia is a bigger market with higher GDP and more natural resources.

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