Trotter on his beliefs

July 28th, 2008 at 10:47 am by David Farrar

SST column last weekend generated so many negative responses, that the SST has even put some of them online.

Much better in my eyes is his column in Friday’s Dom Post on what he believes in. Let’s look at them:

A column entitled From the Left conjures out of its readers imaginations a veritable phantasmagoria of political misconceptions. The most common of these is that, being “From the Left”, I must favour the policies Joseph Stalin and Mao Mao Tse- tung.

Problem is, I rejected their credo of Marxist-Leninist communism long ago.

I am curious as to how long ago, and why?

So, what do I believe?

It’s a fair question, and here, for better or for worse, is my reply:

I believe that human societies arise out of need. The need for food and shelter, the need for intimacy, the need for nurturing, and the need for protection – both from natural dangers, and the aggression of our own species. To secure these needs, human beings must work, individually or collectively, but always with the ultimate goal of keeping strong those innumerable threads that bind our communities in a functioning wholeness.

Can’t say I disagree too much with that.

In New Zealand, two peoples co-exist in differing states of awareness of the essential collectivism and dependency of human communities. The indigenous people possess a clear and poignant vision of humanity’s place in these islands. But the colonising peoples could not rest till the ideas and institutions of their respective homelands had taken root in New Zealand. To the extent they succeeded, the conflicts and contradictions of their native lands were also transplanted here.

Resolving these conflicts and contradictions, and discovering the best means of prospering together, is the historic task of the two peoples fated to share these islands Maori and Pakeha.

I think Trotter stereotypes too much here with the “indigenous people possess a clear and poignant vision of humanity’s place in these islands”, but I will agree we do have a duty to work together to resolve past conflicts.

As a social-democrat I am dedicated to furthering in all aspects of my country’s social, political and economic organisation the essential equality of human beings. Social-democracy defines equality in terms of the universality of human need.

Here I start to differ. I certainly believe in doing what we can to get equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome is an impossible nonsense, which takes no account of human nature and differences. The communist states have tried and failed repeatedly in this goal. Even Cuba is backing away from it.

If Chris means all humans have some minimum human rights, then I agree. But the right to have an Ipod is not one of them.

That being so, we must reject all claims hostile to the reality of our interdependence. Individuals and groups who by superior strength or simple good fortune are endowed with wealth and influence, enjoy their advantages on the sufferance of that vast majority whose daily labours make possible a functioning society. Only so long as, in the judgement of the many, the possession by a fortunate few of social, political and economic privileges serves the community as a whole, will those privileges endure. Any attempt by a minority to transform the privileges granted to them by the majority into a system of permanent advantage cannot be deemed just.

And here is where we totally part company. Trotter expresses a view where individuals have no rights – they are allowed to keep their money or property only if the many agree by doing so, it benefits them.

Trotter sees the majority as able to take anything away from the minority, and that minority having no rights. It is the sort of outlook that we see in Zimbabwe where the minority white farmers have had their farms stolen from them. Trotter says the only issue is whether or not it benefits the majority to do so. Now I do not mean to imply in any way that Chris supporters the horrific excesses of Mugabe – I am sure he is repelled by the dictator’s actions. But his views on the rights of the minority, seem to be similar – they have none except those granted by the majority.

As a social-democrat I look to the state, as the institutional expression of our interdependence, to secure for all citizens a healthy and abundant life.

While I look to families to secure healthy and abudant life for most people – with the state being a fallback option and a resource. I also look to business to generate the wealth that really secures an abundant life.

The provision of gainful employment, education, health, housing and protection against adversity are rights due to all New Zealanders. Political institutions are established to secure these rights, drawing their authority from the freely given consent of all responsible citizens.

The state can not provide jobs to everyone – unless one wants to go back to Muldoon. It can set an economic environment in which the private sector creates jobs. It does have a role in funding and sometimes provision of health, education and housing. But that does not mean free PhDs for everyone and a state house for every family. I beleive in targetting assistance to those who most need it.

Those charged with governing our country, hold in trust the resources – both natural and social – that are the common property of all our people.

Can’t disagree with that.

As a social-democrat I cannot countenance the arbitrary dispersal of the people’s resources, nor the slow fragmentation and dilution of their rights. And, while recognising the fundamental kinship of all human beings, I will not surrender the sovereignty of my nation to the interests of foreigners. New Zealand’s destiny, finally, is the enterprise of New Zealanders alone.

Yet Chris seems to say the minority have no rights, unless the majority grant them. No right to hold property. No right to keep most of what you earn.

And I am less concerned with national sovereignity than Chris is. Of course as a country we have it. But more and more peopel of my generation and younger see themselves as citizens of the World. Look at Europe – how mervellous to have 30+ countries joined together with no borders, and the ability to trade and work in any member country.

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136 Responses to “Trotter on his beliefs”

  1. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Socialism remains a very recent afectation. Human societies have existed for thousands of years without its presence and it has failed spectactularly with monotonous regularity to the detrement, dispair and pain of many.

    Everyone who is not a party to this mental impairment called socialism is not “evil”.

    Trotter remains a socialist mouthpiece hack.

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  2. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    well..dpf..as one of those ‘privileged elites’..with your ‘position’ to protect..

    ..of course you’d say that..!..eh..?

    trotters ‘manifesto’ is hardly a document urging the workers to rise up against their opressors..is it..?

    it’s almost labour-lite..(nary a mention of the workers flag being ‘deepest red’..eh..?..)

    so..dpf..you totally rubbish any attempts/aspirations to overturn our third world poverty/child-health stats..

    so what is your ‘solution’/manifesto..?

    or is it as we can all assume..

    ..’cut benefits..!..gimme tax-cuts..!..i haven’t got ‘enough’..!..i need more..!..

    i..i..have this expensive wine/food/money/restaurant ‘habit’..to maintain..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    [DPF: The high incidence of certain third world diseases would be best addressed by improving family support and education to at risk families with pre-schoolers.]

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  3. thas (61 comments) says:

    What a great polemic – born-again environmentalist (since when?), understander of bi-cultural enlightenment, lover of all things, defender of the poor and needy, but god-damn those dirty foreigners and rich pricks and ‘wrong-thinkers’. Not exactly a convincing back-pedal from his SST hate-rant.

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  4. dime (10,132 comments) says:

    heh what a nutjob.

    as for two peoples… one of those “peoples” lost the freakin war. BAD LUCK!

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  5. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    What a tosser! His beliefs are best understood by reading is regular hard-line socialist rantings rather than his weekend softening/retraction.

    Why doesn’t he shift to Cuba or North Korea? He’d be ideologically at home, but would have to join the peasants who don’t have a home. or income. or freedom. or hope.

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  6. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..[DPF: The high incidence of certain third world diseases would be best addressed by improving family support and education to at risk families with pre-schoolers.]..”

    with that ending when they go to school..?

    what about what sole parents with school-age children..?

    what would you ‘do with them’..?

    cut benefit rates..?

    force them to put their children into (privately-run) care-centres during school holidays..?

    ..so those sole parents can do ‘real work’..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    [DPF: Part-time work when kids reach a certain age seems very sensible for solo parents. There are many jobs which can be fitted within school hours]

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  7. unaha-closp (1,180 comments) says:
    Those charged with governing our country, hold in trust the resources – both natural and social – that are the common property of all our people.

    Can’t disagree with that.

    I disagree.

    Those charged with governing the country hold hostage as much of the resources – both natural and social – that they can. They are not trustworthy and must needfully be held to open examination as they are the ultimate power. Any attempt by this minority to transform the privileges granted to them by the majority into a system of permanent advantage cannot be deemed just.

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

    Dear me, where do I start? So many poor quality arguments DPF – I’m really surprised at how shaky the ground that you build your belief system is. Yet another revealing example of how intellectually bankrupt the right-wing liberal philosophy really is. It’s all about keeping, single, white, upper-middle class male money where the old-world social and market institutions allocate it.

    “Here I start to differ. I certainly believe in doing what we can to get equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome is an impossible nonsense, ”

    I think you’ve made up a straw man here DPF. Making sure that everyone’s basic needs are met doesn’t mean equality of outcome (frankly I just can’t see how you think trotter meant that – how is an ipod a human “need”?). It means that we seek to have an inclusive society that makes sure people have the material means to move forward from the start. Something that people from privileged backgrounds (not all) often don’t understand is that having a degree of base of security to start from makes it much easier to move forward – thus they don’t see the need for the welfare state.

    “Trotter expresses a view where individuals have no rights”

    Again with the patently ridiculous straw man. Chris is a liberal lefty – you know the creed that fought for the bill of rights to be introduced (Geoffrey Palmer).

    “It is the sort of outlook that we see in Zimbabwe”

    oh for goodness’ sake. 80% of Zimbabwe hates Mugabe (quite common for dictators don’t you know?) – how the hell can you say that it’s the majority screwing over the minority?

    “But his views on the rights of the minority, seem to be similar – they have none except those granted by the majority.”

    Nah – some people (especially libertarians) take the ridiculous view that money allocated through market mechanism is “sacred” (although i agree that hard working people should be rewarded for their efforts, because that’s just) – forgetting the institutional factors (which the majority also protects) that favour certain people above others – i.e. in the “purest” of market economies (US, Chile etc) intergenerational income heritability is highest, meaning that you’re likely to stay poor if you’re born poor an stay rich if you’re born rich). So there’s issues of justice (rewards for working hard and equality of opportunity) on both sides of the equation, not just the one you choose to highlight.

    “I also look to business to generate the wealth that really secures an abundant life.”

    Absolutely, but liberal social democracies are always wealthy, and with long-run economic growth of 2-4% – so that’s not such a problem for Chris.

    “The state can not provide jobs to everyone – unless one wants to go back to Muldoon”

    That’s another straw-man. Full employment doesn’t have to mean 10 people doing the job of one person. There’s a lot of work to be done that could improve our environment and communities that isn’t being done – i.e. in Sweden, a lot of pollution clean up and recycling is being done by people who would otherwise be unemployed.

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  9. The Silent Majority (88 comments) says:

    “The provision of gainful employment, education, health, housing and protection against adversity are rights due to all New Zealanders. ”

    Oh gosh, I wish I’d known that when I was a child and living in my first home in NZ- a caravan, and my parents with 25 pounds to their name. I wouldn’t have needed to work and save and study to become the “rich prick” I am today. I am wondering though, if I have those rights, who pays for them?

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

    Phil U:

    “what would you ‘do with them’..?cut benefit rates..?force them to put their children into (privately-run) care-centres during school holidays..?”

    I’ve seen some interesting “solutions” on kiwiblog. i.e. forced adoption – making children commodities in a free market! You got to love it. Is there anything these libertarian nut-jobs don’t want commodified? Air is the last common natural resource on the agenda – how will they do it though?

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  11. Bryce Edwards (248 comments) says:

    Trotter has written much better pieces in the past about “what he believes in”. One landmark and thought-provoking piece that comes to mind is his 2002 Bruce Jesson lecture, which you can read at:
    http://www.brucejesson.com/lecture2002.html

    Of course like just about any good political commentator and activist, Trotter is better at stating and exposing the politics of what he opposes. And this has great value. If anything, Trotter’s deserved role as one of the most controversial, well-read, and highly-regarded political analysts actually comes from his very powerful critiques of the left. Although his rightwing detractors write Trotter off as some kind of unthinking apologist for all things leftwing in NZ, the reality is quite the opposite. Trotter’s most important writings have been his critical analysis of the failings and shortcomings of what passes for the left in this country – his Bruce Jesson lecture is a good example of this.

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

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  12. dime (10,132 comments) says:

    bit hysterical today roger… i suggest 50 pushups :)

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  13. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    phil: why do you presume that it is the problem of “NZ” that third world diseases are taking hold? Surely it is the problem first and foremost of the parents of those children. The best thing for those children would be for their parents to get a job and bring in income so as to better their lot in life. This is best helped by:
    – creating a requirement for sole parents to get back to work once their youngest is in school (like almost every other western nation)
    – creating an employment environment in which those people are employable, even if their skills are limited (like almost every other western nation)
    – creating a taxation and benefit regime that allows those people to get back to work part time without losing the majority of what they earn in benefit abatement rates

    I don’t see anything in my list that involves me being taxed more. Nor do I see any reason that it should – the problem here is not a shortage of taxes. Remember that Cullen had so much excess taxation that he ran out of ideas of what to spend it on. If even Cullen can’t find problems that need more money thrown at them, then I’m sure we are well beyond the point where more money is the answer.

    That in turn means that most of your diatribe is irrelevant, since it was attacking your host and some of us for not paying enough taxes, and (shock horror) going out and working so as to gain income, and then spending that income on things that we want like dinners and wine. You are reduced to envy and whinging because you have nothing of your own. Seriously, why don’t you get a job and earn some of your own money, and see whether that changes your view of things. I don’t think even the average Labour party supported thinks that benefits are a valid lifestyle choice where people should be allowed to opt out of society, but society has an obligation to support them whilst they do this.

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  14. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    so silent majority..

    we can assume you enjoyed free education..?..etc..?..

    ..state-supported loan/mortgage for ‘first home’..?

    ..free healthcare..etc..?

    and now..?

    ..you are just another greedy ‘rich prick’..mewling for ‘more!’..

    ..eh..?

    ..and seemingly ignorant of the privileges/luck you experienced..

    ..and wanting to deny what you had..

    ..to those who came after..?

    ..in your own words..?..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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

    ” roger… i suggest 50 pushups”

    Just done them – maybe the adrenalin is still pumping a bit hard? :-)

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  16. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    Trotter’s view is exceedingly naive regarding the limited powers of the state to organise. He completely discounts the market as a means of meeting the fundamental needs he identifies.

    The entire reason our standard of living is above subsistence is the division of labour i.e. specialise and then trade with someone else specialising in things you want. Trotter is saying the better way of marshalling that process is via the state.

    That is simply false. Nobody could ever hope to make a spreadsheet large enough to take account of all the information required to allocate labour and materials across an economy in a way that creates the wealth required to provide the things Trotter wants.

    That is in part why there is a negative relationship between government share of an economy and economic prosperity. It is because governments cannot hope to replicate the division of labour that is produced by having decisions being made by individuals at bottom of the pyramid rather than by a few at the top.

    And democratic socialism doesn’t get around the problem. Division of labour, by its nature, is not one-size-fits-all. There is nothing to be gained by voting on who goes where. That is top down by proxy and solves nothing.

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  17. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    He’s a damn commie. They all deny it.

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  18. JC (973 comments) says:

    Sounds like Barack Obama, all high sounding words and great ideals but essentially just camouflage.

    But in that quite long piece about suffering humanity the following words were entirely missing:

    Children
    God
    Religion
    Family
    Love
    Caring
    Freedom
    Independence
    Trade
    Dignity
    Happiness

    Draw your own conclusions.

    JC

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  19. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    paull..

    “..phil: why do you presume that it is the problem of “NZ” that third world diseases are taking hold? Surely it is the problem first and foremost of the parents of those children…”

    benefit cuts/market rents on state houses caused/forced overcrowding/living in garage..etc..

    ..with a notable rise in those third world/poverty diseases..

    (sorry to let any facts ‘get in the way’..eh..?..)

    (that labour didn’t restore those benefit cuts its’ one of their greatest ‘shames’/an abrogation of their historical mandate..)

    and paull..you..and all the others still haven’t answered that basic/logistical question..

    ..what do sole parents ‘do’..during school holidays..?..with their children/responsibilities..?

    (the rest of your comment is just your usual ‘rich prick’ gimme gimme more..!

    ..and here’s my convoluted/’freedom from tyranny’/apologist bullshit..

    ..as an attempt to mask naked greed/privilege..

    btw..i really hope you aren’t sucking up some/any of that w.f.f socialism in action..eh..?

    would kinda make your protestations a travesty/joke..?

    eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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

    Bleater:

    “He’s a damn commie. They all deny it.”

    It’s a ridiculous assertion, but I’ll condescend to address it anyhow.

    I’ve actually seen chris argue against communism, at an Alliance conference (I’ve never been a member, just went their out of interest). One of the more wild-eyed members said “why don’t we nationalise all industry?”, to which chris responded with something to the effect of ….

    “once you put the thumb down on private industry, you have to constantly stifle and put-down all attempts by people to trade, work and make money of their own initiative. So it becomes a slippery slope that ends up in tyranny”

    Have to say, i agree with chris there.

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  21. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Go to Bryce’s link then JC ;-)

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  22. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    Overall, from Chris, a fair amount of motherhood and apple pie that everyone can agree with. But he hides amongst it some really interesting twists:

    As a social-democrat I am dedicated to furthering in all aspects of my country’s social, political and economic organisation the essential equality of human beings. Social-democracy defines equality in terms of the universality of human need.

    Roger, I don’t see how you could interpret this as other than equality of outcome. If you define equality by need, then you are really saying that what you have is based on what you need, surely? Classic marxism there. I personally don’t see how you get to your interpretation – if Chris is saying that the state should be a safety net, then everyone agrees with that. To suggest that National don’t is a ludicrous strawman on your part.

    If Chris is talking “to each according to their needs” here, then DPF is right – it has never worked anywhere else.

    Individuals and groups who by superior strength or simple good fortune are endowed with wealth and influence, enjoy their advantages on the sufferance of that vast majority whose daily labours make possible a functioning society.

    Interesting that Chris doesn’t seem to consider that individuals or groups might get wealth and influence from working hard, having skills, and applying themselves. I completely agree that wealth and influence achieved through superior strength (taking that to mean taken by force or coercion) or through good fortune (I presume we mean here inheritance) are issues. But most wealth and influence in NZ don’t come this way. We are a very highly mobile society – in discounting all the other ways people get wealth and influence Chris is distorting by omission. John Key is an example – did he get wealth through strength or good fortune? Or did he study hard, work hard, and invest wisely?

    I don’t particularly have concern that PhilU, for example, doesn’t have wealth and influence. Since his path to get same would appear to be living on a benefit instead of working (when he seems to have no good reason not to work), commenting on the internet and smoking drugs. Are we saying that PhilU should be just as wealthy as someone with a job?

    Only so long as, in the judgement of the many, the possession by a fortunate few of social, political and economic privileges serves the community as a whole, will those privileges endure. Any attempt by a minority to transform the privileges granted to them by the majority into a system of permanent advantage cannot be deemed just.

    This is probably true in the sense that people will vote for disproportionate taxes if they feel the system is unjust. But to suggest that “economic privileges” are something we vote for seems a bit weird. I thought they were something you got by working at your job, earning money, starting a business, and all those other good things. It seems weird that Trotter things that wealth is something conferred by society that can be taken away again. It is a view of the world that is rooted, as above, in the perception that wealth comes through luck or theft, and that there is a limited amount to go around. So if you want to be as wealthy as Bob Jones then you need to drag him down, rather than thinking “maybe I need to go and work as hard as he did, take the risks he took, in order to be as wealthy as he is.”

    As a social-democrat I look to the state, as the institutional expression of our interdependence, to secure for all citizens a healthy and abundant life.

    This is the fundamental delusion. The State should be a safety net. People secure for themselves a healthy and abundant life – through the choices they make, and how they apply themselves. Note that being wealthy doesn’t have to be the aspiration of some people – some people want wealth, fast cars, etc etc. Other people want free time, spend time with their children etc. Those are valid choices, but for some reason the left seem convinced that some of those choices should be interfered with by the govt – if I choose to work hard and get wealthy then my wealth should be taken. If I choose to spend time on things that make me happy but not wealthy, well someone else’s wealth should be taken and given to me, because I clearly need to be wealthier than I chose to be.

    If we think we can get to a situation where we just do whatever we want, and the state will secure a healthy and abundant life for me – irrespective of my choices – then we are in trouble as a nation. I very much doubt that many NZers agree with Trotter on this point, in fact, other than PhilU I doubt that many of the leftys here would agree either. You actually have to put something in to life to get something back, and the government cannot change that.

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

    Paul:

    “Roger, I don’t see how you could interpret this as other than equality of outcome.”

    “Need” and “ipod” aren’t the same thing. Are you dense or what?

    “To suggest that National don’t is a ludicrous strawman on your part.”

    That’s pretty dishonest, seeing as I didn’t argue that.

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  24. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    Children..dunno..

    God..dunno..

    Religion..see above..

    Family….????

    Love..see above..

    Caring..see above..

    Freedom..as much as you can have being ‘house/tame-leftie’..for rightwingers..

    Independence..see above..

    Trade..see above..

    Dignity..see above..

    Happiness..see above..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  25. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    PhilU: again with the WFF question. And again, none of your business. I fundamentally disagree with WFF, and would get rid of it if I could. I have dealt with your question.

    benefit cuts/market rents on state houses caused/forced overcrowding/living in garage..etc..

    On the part of market rents – bullshit. Or are you saying that everyone not currently having a state house under this current government’s ludicrous policies relating to state houses, is being overcrowded?

    As for benefit cuts – if the benefit is so low then why do you live on it? Maybe you could try getting a job.

    hat do sole parents ‘do’..during school holidays..?..with their children/responsibilities

    Let me see. Try getting a part time job that you don’t need to work during the holidays. Put the kid in a holiday camp or some other form of holiday day care. Pay someone to baby sit. Band together with a bunch of other people with the same problem, and take turns looking after the sprogs. Shit, are you completely incapable of organising anything, and need the gummint to do it for you? What happens in every other country in the Western world – do the children wander the streets like feral dogs or something? I would have thought I would have heard about it if that were the case.

    the rest of your comment is just your usual ‘rich prick’ gimme gimme more

    Bullshit. Nowhere did I say give me more. I said there was no need to increase my taxes. You, in fact, are the one saying “gimme more”, because you can’t or won’t find a job, and demand that we give you more. Who’s the selfish one here?

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

    Paul:

    “We are a very highly mobile society”

    Really? That would be a surprise, seeing as income inequality is correlated with intergeneration income heritability, and we’re one of the least-equal countries in the OECD.

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

    “John Key is an example ”

    yep, the statistically anomalous rags to riches storey, the aptly-named “dream”. Also, middle class families qualified for state houses in those days don’t you know?

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

    “the rest of your comment is just your usual ‘rich prick’ gimme gimme more

    Damn you phil – now i’ve got that awful Madonna song in my head!

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  29. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    Roger – you don’t think we are a highly mobile society? Interestingly, some of our poorest people are….shock horror, the young. And some of our wealthiest….you guessed it, the old. And most people go from being young to being old. If you look at family wealth, sure there are some very rich families who pass it from generation to generation. And there are also a lot of middle class families who pass values from generation to generation, where there are a lot of very poor families who are passing broken values from generation to generation. But in all groups there are plenty of examples of people changing their wealth decile over time.

    What you provide in rebuttal is “that would be a surprise,” and labelling John Key as a statistical anomaly. Can you do any better than that?

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  30. RRM (10,031 comments) says:

    JC: I worship the Holy Fountain Pen of Hungabungga and I didn’t see It mentioned either.

    Exactly what role the Judeo-Christian God needs to play in our democracy is a matter that no-one seems to be able to answer, beyond “but OF COURSE my God matters!

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

    “PaulL”

    Why don’t you put forward a real argument (i.e. a study) instead of your good ol’ kiwi pub talk, “common sense”, anecdotal crap?

    Here’s a study for you. Go to the graph on page 46 and prepare to swallow your words.

    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/27/28/38335410.pdf

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  32. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    “The indigenous people possess a clear and poignant vision of humanity’s place in these islands.”

    Tell that to the Moa.

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  33. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    paul..so you are sucking up w.f.f…(if you weren’t..you’d deny it..)

    “..Let me see. Try getting a part time job that you don’t need to work during the holidays…”

    and..what do you do for income during the 18 or so weeks of holidays..?

    “.. Put the kid in a holiday camp or some other form of holiday day care. .”

    for 18 weeks of the year..?

    “..Pay someone to baby sit..”..

    same again..for 18 weeks a year..?. full-time..

    “..Band together with a bunch of other people with the same problem, and take turns looking after the sprogs..”

    that last ones a bit ‘desperate’..?..eh..?

    a nice little take on ‘let them eat cake!’ there paul..

    “.. What happens in every other country in the Western world – do the children wander the streets like feral dogs or something?..”

    well..i know that the countries with the highest happiness-indicators/least social/poverty/third world diseases in children..

    ..are those western democracies which provide a ‘living wage’ to those raising children on their own..

    so..go figure..!..eh..?

    and as for children wandering the streets ‘like feral dogs’..during school holidays..

    ..you need to get out more..during school holidays..

    eh..?

    and then of course..we can factor in the 85% claw-back..after tax..on any part-time work monies earned..for sole parents..eh..?

    ..that is/means the sole parent gets $15 in the hand..for every (after-tax) $100 earned..

    (would any of you rich pricks work under those conditions..?..

    if not..

    shut the fuck up..!

    eh..?)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  34. Spam (588 comments) says:

    That being so, we must reject all claims hostile to the reality of our interdependence. Individuals and groups who by superior strength or simple good fortune are endowed with wealth and influence, enjoy their advantages on the sufferance of that vast majority whose daily labours make possible a functioning society.

    Except for the fact that those in the minority with wealth & influence actually contribute more proportionally in terms of tax than those who are the “sufferance of that vast majority whose daily labours make possible a functioning society”.

    Is he trying to say that those on benefits being propped-up by the welfare provided by the taxpayers are somehow being exploited by those taxpayers?

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  35. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    Some interesting stuff here, some of which I would like to respond to.

    >
    >>we seek to have an inclusive society that makes sure people have the material means to move forward
    >
    This seems to me to be saying that everyone (inclusive society) should have the same amount of cash (material means) to do what they want (move forward). Now I may be a bit dumb, but as there is no indication where this material means will suddenly appear from, I have to take it that a Robin Hood type approach will prevail. (Take from the rich give to the poor.) This will work once (as evidenced by the collapse of all communist states since the 2nd world war, but is not sustainable as the people with the drive and ability to create wealth as their version of moving forward will hide that wealth, or do their forward motion in another country with a more tolerant approach to wealth possession. If such a government was to be elected in New Zealand, you wouldn’t see the people with savings for air pollution.

    >
    >>some people (especially libertarians) take the ridiculous view that money allocated through market mechanism is “sacred” (although i agree that hard working people should be rewarded for their efforts, because that’s just)
    >
    Ouch, my head is really spinning at this one. A market will exist for hard work, which will pay better than normal work, but which will not result in the people who have earned more from their hard work regarding the extra they get as theirs (sacred). That head is still hurting. Oh! And if I go to university for six years, then do another seven as an apprentice brain surgeon, I will not, at the end of all this learning, be entitled to compensation that takes into account the scarcity of people who can do what I do (i.e. money allocated through market mechanism,) so I won’t bother with all that study! Instead, I’ll get a job as a street sweeper, earn as much as a brain surgeon, and challenge my intellect with good literature that requires significant abstract thought (unlike the Beano my colleagues read). My head is STILL hurting.

    >
    >>Full employment doesn’t have to mean 10 people doing the job of one person. There’s a lot of work to be done that could improve our environment and communities that isn’t being done – i.e. in Sweden, a lot of pollution clean up and recycling is being done by people who would otherwise be unemployed.
    >

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK (aka OK) So we have a work for the dole scheme, that provides exactly the type of work that is currently being done primarily by criminals sentenced to community service. Got it. A bit demeaning I suppose, but OK – nothing for no contribution. By the way, is the current tax rate in Sweden still averaging 85% or has it gone up since I came to God’s Own?

    >
    >>“The provision of gainful employment, education, health, housing and protection against adversity are rights due to all New Zealanders.”
    >
    Well, until I considered the working for Dole stuff properly, I had a problem with the ‘gainful employment bit, but that’s gone now. Gainful education is a bit of a mystery, I’d like to see the curriculum. Gainful health; so here we have a situation where someone born with a debilitating disease should have it removed so they have gainful health, please see my earlier comments re the approach to getting doctors. Gainful housing, again there’s a definitional issue here; I remember the dichotomy of a dacha vs a two room flat in the USSR, it seemed there that gainful was defined by your status within the governing political party – hardly equitable, in fact downright capitalist in a strange sort of way. Protection against adversity, again, in a state that regards equity as paramount, I see this as meaning that if I want to paint my lounge walls blue and someone wants to tag them I will be protected against this ‘adversity’, while at the same time, the person who wants to do the tagging will be protected against the adversity of the people protecting me; erm, hang on a minute, then I need more protection and so does he, so we end up with the whole of society protecting us (me and the tagger,) from the adversity of the other: hmmm, who’s doing the work (e.g. feeding us while we do this protection bit?)

    AND FINALLY

    >
    >>”you..and all the others still haven’t answered that basic/logistical question….what do sole parents ‘do’..during school holidays..?..with their children/responsibilities..?” (sic with apologies!)

    Simple FillYou, we do away with sole parenting! We establish a ubiquitous DNA database so we can identify the parents of all children, and bring those parents together with the requirement that one go out to work and the other provide nurture for the child until it no longer needs it. IN the event that children of multiple mothers share a father, they will be brought together into a commune, still with the requirement for one nurturer – the rest go out and earn, in the event a man has fathered children with multiple women the same will apply; in the event this creates large communes the men will be neutered and the women sterilised so that the size does not continue to grow, and the ratio of carers to children will be set at 1:6. ALL THIS OF COURSE in the socialist state you espouse.

    IN my more capitalist democracy, solo parents in a “neighborhood” would be required to pool their resources in groups of five, and so support and raise their children with mutual support. This would mean that they have one of their group take charge of nurturing and raising the children one day per week (home/life balance is so 21st century a four day week is an option in almost all work places), ensuring that each child spends more than just mornings, evenings and weekends with their child(ren) while still earning their keep.

    Anyone who “opts out” of this system would have their child(ren) fed at a state institution three times per day and provided with sufficient clothing for school and reasonable recreation. The parent will be provided with a furnished one-bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and shower based bathroom living space for them and the child(ren) to live in, and two sets of clothes, one suitable for searching for work, the other suitable for sitting around the home. The adult would be provided with a weekly food supply based on a life sustaining diet appropriate for any religious beliefs they may hold (e.g. buddhists would have a vegan diet). The child would be provided with all necessary health care through the state institution, the adult would be assured of treatment for life-threatening conditions.

    Nuff said I think.

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  36. dime (10,132 comments) says:

    heh roger has negative karma cause he said he just did push ups lol

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  37. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    Phil: I already said on this thread (as well as frequently on others) that the effective marginal tax rate for those leaving a benefit is a crime. You favourite govt have done nothing about it. What will you do if a National govt does? Will you support them.

    As for “decent living wage” – not sure what that has to do with school age children – since all those countries don’t provide that benefit to people with school age children. Are you jumbling your thoughts together?

    Banding together to care for children – this is what people have done for time immemorial. The fact that you think that is an unusual practice, and that the state should somehow provide for you, goes to show me how lost you are.

    Finally, as for WFF: it makes no difference to this argument, and it does not imply I am in receipt of WFF. The policy is a bad one.

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  38. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    My, the Lefty trolls do get busy every time this topic comes up, don’t they? Where to start?

    What Trotter, and Roger Nome (is he really Trotter anyway?) cannot get their heads around is that increases in wealth only result from people being free to serve their own self-interest, and that all the State needs to do, is to protect that freedom. The idea that power in that situation can become concentrated in the hands of some elite or coterie, who then “exploit” the majority, is spectacularly contrary to reality. The reality is steadily rising remuneration and steadily improving conditions for all.

    We have had this debate over and over. Roger Nome will insist that only Trade Unions result in those improvements, which is bollocks, as if busted-arse countries need no more than strong unions and tough laws favouring the workers and the disadvantaged, and hey presto, they will be Switzerland.

    I recall from earlier debates that Roger’s main problem is with inequality. He really does not care for REAL improvements in the lot of the least well-off, if others lot improves faster at the same time.

    These people protest that they are not Communists. Mate, there is only one system that dispenses with wealth creation and improvements for all, albeit at unequal rates, in favour of forced equality.

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  39. pkiwi (111 comments) says:

    Even had this had been an entry in an essay competition for angst-ridden adolescents its puerile naive simplistic illogic would be cast aside. How can Trotter keep his job when he writes this garbage? There is no point arguing that he brings balance when he is obviously so unbalanced himself. Funny thing ‘balance’: Trotter contributes to political balance the way Jar Jar Binks does to the Force.

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  40. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Roger Nome:

    “……how intellectually bankrupt the right-wing liberal philosophy really is. It’s all about keeping, single, white, upper-middle class male money where the old-world social and market institutions allocate it…….”

    And women, and racial minorities, are better off in real terms, in a) Communist Countries or b) Capitalist Countries, Roger?

    Are the Hmong better off in Cambodia than the Red Indians in the USA? Are women better off in North Korea?

    BARF.

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  41. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    FillYou

    that is/means the sole parent gets $15 in the hand..for every (after-tax) $100 earned..

    Not really, you get the whole amount PLUS some of my money! You really do think welfare is an ENTITLEMENT don’t you! It’s not. It’s a privilege that you should at least provide some thanks to the rest of us for. Anyway, look above and you can see a way to earn and care – and what I would do if you refused!

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  42. RRM (10,031 comments) says:

    Forced equality???

    Even if all those commie union members band together to try to better their wages, what harm does that do you, self-made man apart at the top?

    Oh and I like the “Lefty trolls” thing. Is it because you prefer to preach to the converted, that anyone who disagrees with you gets a snarky label?

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  43. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Agree, pkiwi. It is absurd that papers give Trotter the forum to write such garbage without any attempt at counterbalance, although at long last the SST seems to have granted a bit more airing of protests at Trotters views this time. I am not holding my breath for a continuation of this, or for the ComPost to follow suit………

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  44. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..We have had this debate over and over. Roger Nome will insist that only Trade Unions result in those improvements, which is bollocks, as if busted-arse countries need no more than strong unions and tough laws favouring the workers and the disadvantaged, and hey presto, they will be Switzerland…”

    whereas your solution is no unions/low-waged workers/children working in factories/slave-labour..eh..?

    exactly the evils that forged unionism..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  45. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    No phil. There is a middle ground. You’re painting the National Party policies as if we were going to stop all benefits, turn all beneficiaries out on the streets, and get rid of the safety net entirely. Funnily enough I didn’t see that anywhere in the policies – maybe it is part of the hidden agenda?

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  46. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RRM (787) Add karma Subtract karma +0 Says:
    July 28th, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    “Forced equality???

    Even if all those commie union members band together to try to better their wages, what harm does that do you, self-made man apart at the top?”

    You have distorted my point. Equality, not of opportunity but of outcome, forced on all citizens of a State, hurts everybody in the consequent economic malaise.

    The harm unionism does, is firstly, to the unemployed, who find it harder to get jobs. Secondly, in stifling growth of businesses, the sole source of the creation of future wealth, and even in bringing about the collapse of those businesses. Collapsing businesses is definitely bad for everyone, not just the “self-made men at the top” who own them. (By the way, your envy is showing, and also by the way, I am not a “self-made man at the top”. I am an individual who has never been a burden to his fellow taxpayers and in spite of being a net contributor for decades, has been comprehensively screwed over by that health insurance scam you call “public health”). Thirdly, Trade Unionism IS a zero-sum game where the various interests are fighting for the biggest cut of the economic cake. It arbitrarily sets remuneration rates for vocations irrespective of the relative NEEDS to the economy, of people in that trade. This, too, is a brake on overall economic growth.

    I could go on, but it is probably all water off a duck’s back.

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  47. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    well..it has been before/every other time..’secret agendas’…

    why was it ‘good’ to do it then..?..but not now..?

    when exactly did the neo-actites in national change their spots..?

    i must have missed that..

    do you have video..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    and..the comment was directed at phil-the-inferiors’ drivel..

    ..but now that you mention it..

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  48. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    Fill
    Will you read and respond to my answer to your perenial question regarding children of solo parents!

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  49. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    strings said..

    “..Anyway, look above and you can see a way to earn and care – and what I would do if you refused!.”

    yeah..!..definitive evidence that you really are fucken ‘barking’..eh..?

    q.e.d..

    and now of course..this episode of wing-nuttery..

    ..will define you..eh..?

    and make anything else you say..

    ..as big a joke as that..

    ..eh..?..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  50. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Philu:

    “….whereas your solution is no unions/low-waged workers/children working in factories/slave-labour..eh..?

    exactly the evils that forged unionism..”

    Economics lesson, philu.

    In BanglaDesh, the solution to low-waged workers/children working in factories/slave labour IS: (pick one)

    1) Unions
    2) Economic Growth

    In countries where the alternatives are: staying in the paddy fields and just growing enough rice to eat, or going to work in a Nike factory, why do people go to work in the Nike factory?

    Why, when there are still people in the paddy fields just growing enough rice to eat, would the people of that country be grateful for every new factory that gets built?

    What would be the results of forcing Nike or whoever else wants to set up a factory, to pay first-world wages and offer first-world working conditions?

    Before industrialism in the countries where our ancestors came from, what would have been the effect of unions or government agencies insisting on some idealistic minimum wage and minimum working conditions that related to some utopia of the future?

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  51. duncan_bayne (52 comments) says:

    No right to keep most of what you earn.

    Is that like the freedom of speech on most topics? Or more like freedom from being murdered by most people? Or perhaps you’re thinking of the freedom of association with most people?

    Come on David, grow a pair! Talking of the right to keep most of what you earn means that you don’t differ fundamentally from Trotter on the topic of property rights; you only differ in the proportion of an individuals property you think it’s just to steal.

    Of course, as a National apologist you couldn’t really hold a principled position on property rights, could you?

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  52. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    ok..so they are your reasons why you support forced child labour..etc..

    that’s clear for all to see..

    involved in making your money that way..?

    are you..?

    is that how you justify your gross exploitation to yourself..?

    ..that you are doing them some sorta ‘favour’..?

    wow..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  53. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Back to RogerNome:

    “……..Making sure that everyone’s basic needs are met doesn’t mean equality of outcome (frankly I just can’t see how you think trotter meant that – how is an ipod a human “need”?). It means that we seek to have an inclusive society that makes sure people have the material means to move forward from the start. Something that people from privileged backgrounds (not all) often don’t understand is that having a degree of base of security to start from makes it much easier to move forward – thus they don’t see the need for the welfare state………”

    And do YOU, Roger Nome, see that moral and cultural traditions of the past were precisely to the end of providing children with “a base of security to start from”? i.e. a mum and a dad.

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  54. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    your gonna play the god/friend in the sky/master-plan card soon..aren’t you..?..phil-the-inferior..?

    can’t wait..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  55. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RogerNome:

    “they don’t see the need for the welfare state………”

    Hey, a welfare provision that results in massive increases of numbers of people on it, can’t be too bad. And COME ON. Why is it that the more that gets provided by the State in terms of money, housing, education, health care, the MORE problems we get in the way of people who are “disadvantaged”?

    Bob Jones pointed out recently that reform in this area will have to come ultimately but it would only come from Leftist political parties, as the “Tory” ones are frozen in electoral fear over the stereotypes that have been affixed to them………

    Note the Gordon Brown Labour initiative (Too late !) entitled “No One Written Off: Reforming Welfare to Reward Responsibility”…………

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  56. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RogerNome:

    “Trotter expresses a view where individuals have no rights”

    “Again with the patently ridiculous straw man. Chris is a liberal lefty – you know the creed that fought for the bill of rights to be introduced (Geoffrey Palmer).”

    All Bills of Rights are not equal, pal, you should know that.

    Don’t entrust liberty to madcap judges
    James Allan

    17 July 2008
    The Australian

    Copyright 2008 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved
    “EACH year when I return from our family’s short mid-year trip to our native Canada, I come stocked with over-the-top examples of what the unelected judiciary can do with a bill of rights.
    This year’s is the most amazing one of all. You might even wonder if the judge was sane, or had overdosed on a steady diet of Boston Legal television viewing. Here are the essential facts. A divorced father had custody of his 12-year-old daughter. The daughter accesses sites on the internet that the dad thought were inappropriate. So he tells her those sites are forbidden and, in particular, that she is not to post photos of herself on an online dating website.
    The daughter ignores her dad so he punishes her. He doesn’t smack her or ground her for a year. He forbids her attending the upcoming school year-end camping trip (which in Australian terms, is a fun end-of-year weekend trip run by the school).
    What does the daughter do? She calls a lawyer. The lawyer goes to a judge and, relying on the bill of rights, challenges the girl’s punishment in court. Most readers, I’m pretty sure, will be thinking that if a child going on to inappropriate websites is not a solid ground for punishing the child, then it’s hard to see what is. But the judge — and a superior court judge at that — ruled that the father’s punishment was too harsh. It infringed the girl’s fundamental rights.
    The sad, presumably unintended consequence of this piece of judicial lunacy in Canada is that the father is rethinking his custodianship. Who wants to have to go to court to find out how much time one’s children can be asked to put into their studies, or what punishment shoplifting or rudeness to others warrants. Heck, it’s not as if top lawyers and judges beat the societal average when it comes to how well they raise their own kids.
    My point isn’t just that this judge, or rather one with a brain in his or her head, should have laughed this thing out of court, though of course I do think that. The point is that once you hand over society’s moral and political line-drawing decisions to a coterie of unelected ex-lawyers, which is precisely and unavoidably what a bill of rights does, then you have no idea where things will go in future. All you know for sure is that it will be the judges’ personal values — not those of the majority of citizens — that will prevail.
    The judges will end up simply reading their own values into one or other of the various indeterminate, gaseous platitudes that are the moral abstractions that comprise the enumerated rights in any bill of rights.
    The evidence for this seems to me to be overwhelming, not just in Canada but in the US, Britain and New Zealand.
    If you look around and think that the social and cultural sentiments of top lawyers are more likely to align with your own first order moral preferences than are those of the majority of your fellow citizens, then a bill of rights is for you. Or rather, if you have no democratic scruples, and don’t mind this end-run around the views of all those many others who will disagree with you on all sorts of such issues, then a bill of rights is for you.
    Some might reply that these sorts of lunacies are worth suffering in order to get judges involved on the big issues: things such as freedom of speech. But the fact is, as I never tire of repeating, that there is far more freedom to say what you want here in Australia (without any national bill of rights and none at all outside of Victoria and what amounts to the city council of Canberra) than there is in Canada, where there is one of the strongest, most powerful bills of rights on the planet.
    Be clear about this. Having a bill of rights that says “you have the right to free speech” does not mean you will get more scope to express your own views.
    Got that? It simply means that unelected judges, rather than elected politicians, will ultimately decide what you can and cannot say. I know where I’d put my money.”
    James Allan is Garrick professor of law at the University of Queensland.

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  57. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RogerNome:

    “It is the sort of outlook that we see in Zimbabwe”

    “Oh for goodness’ sake. 80% of Zimbabwe hates Mugabe (quite common for dictators don’t you know?) – how the hell can you say that it’s the majority screwing over the minority?”

    Roger Nome, did the majority of Mugabe’s people not actually love him at one time for screwing over that favourite target of leftwing bigotry, the farmers? (I regard their colour as irrelevant to this debate). It’s the same old story, where socialists get to screw over the targets of their bigotry enough, the resultant economic collapse always loses them majority support. In a Democracy, that means the other side gets a to have a go again. Of course, Zimbabwe is a Democracy, isn’t it, they do hold elections, don’t they? But it’s just that in this case, the leader has got hold of too much of the power that normally resides in apolitical institutions that are the essential check on and balance to the executive in the normal state of things……….
    HMMMMMMMMM, where have I read about that recently closer to home………….?

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

    Phil Best – either learn to distil information, provide a link, or put it in “block-quote” format, but ffs, spare us the unreadable, long-winded verbatim quotes from crazy, far-right US websites.

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

    meh – since Paul’s last post I haven’t seen anything but ridiculous straw-man type arguments from people who lack the detail of knowledge to argue in specifics. Over it.

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  60. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    Fill You said
    >
    >>yeah..!..definitive evidence that you really are f****n ‘barking’..eh..? (sic)

    Now let me see.

    You asked a question, which you said no one would answer, so I answered it. For that I am ‘barking’

    Right. I see your point there! You have no reasoned response so resort to foul language – excellent, this shows you intellectual capacity. (And as an aside I leave the barking to my dog, it amuses her.)

    Then we have Fill You saying .
    >
    >>ok..so they are your reasons why you support forced child labour..etc..

    that’s clear for all to see.. (sic)

    Let’s consider this. Having spent a LOT of time in two of those countries (Sri Lanka and Viet Nam,) and spoken to LOTS of the people who work in them, I have yet to find one who considers themselves force to labour or a child. Indeed, there are quite long waiting lists of people who have applied for a job, been accepted, and are waiting for vacancies to allow them to be put on the payroll.

    If you have PERSONAL EXPERIENCE of different realities, please detail them here so we can check your basic assumptions.

    Otherwise what you have said so far, is, as always, addled, . . . .

    >and make anything else you say..
    >>..as big a joke as that.. (sic)

    I guess your biggest grip with the realities of people in developing countries is that those who follow your philosophy cant have what you have as a welfare gift from the rest of their society. However, not having any direct experience, I’m inclined to believe that you have no idea how proud they are to go out, work for a living and support their families through their labour. I have yet to meet anyone there who, like you and your child’s mother, would father a child and not accept their responsibility to act together to support, nurture and educate it. They, however, do not have the wonder of ‘other peoples’ money’ like you do, they do not have a welfare state that provides computer and Internet entertainment; if they don’t work, or contribute to the family’s well-being, they starve or beg, and the local population hate beggars who, like you, could, but refuse to, work.

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  61. Ross Miller (1,706 comments) says:

    Fascinating debate but for me it boils down to the fact that Trotter is trying to extricate himself from the hole he dug himself last weekend but one by trying to portray himself now as a Mother Teresa lookalike when the reality is that he is a cross between Winston Peters and Max Moseley minus the haircut.

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  62. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    Roger
    given that we are discussing political potentialities, what would you expect rather than straw men? The thoughts of someone else that can be quoted as a ‘source’!

    Interesting.

    I guess you would accept wikipedia as a source, in which case I’ll go and make a few entries to impress you. There is nothing worse for good debate than a buffoon, so please don’t be one any more.

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  63. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RogerNome:

    “…….the institutional factors…… that favour certain people above others – i.e. in the “purest” of market economies (US, Chile etc) intergenerational income heritability is highest, meaning that you’re likely to stay poor if you’re born poor an stay rich if you’re born rich). So there’s issues of justice (rewards for working hard and equality of opportunity) on both sides of the equation……”

    Yes, but can you see yet that attempting to address this problem by “income redistribution” actually broadens the problem? Can you see how much incentives matter? They mattered, and do matter, vitally, in pure Communist countries, far more than pre-Communist critics of Communism ever predicted. I think that we are still failing to grasp the extent to which straight-out income redistribution in democracies act as a perverse incentive, and there has been no broadly accepted quantification of the problem.

    And I think that the lack of social mobility you perceive, is overstated.

    Jewish World Review Feb. 7, 2000
    Thomas Sowell
    Perennial economic fallacies
    “EVERY TIME some new income statistics come out, two predictable fallacies follow in their wake. The first is that the rich are getting richer, while the poor are falling behind. The second is that the real income of American families has not risen significantly for years.
    These fallacies return as regularly as the swallows returning to Capistrano, though not nearly as gracefully. A typical headline in the New York Times proclaims: “In A Time of Plenty, The Poor Are Still Poor.” Yet study after study has shown that “the poor” do not remain poor in contemporary America.
    An absolute majority of the people who were in the bottom 20 percent in 1975 have also been in the top 20 percent at some time since then. Most Americans don’t stay put in any income bracket. At different times, they are both “rich” and “poor” — as these terms are recklessly thrown around in the media. Most of those who are called “the rich” are just middle-class people whose taxes the politicians avoid cutting by giving them that name.
    There are of course some people who remain permanently in the bottom 20 percent. But such people constitute less than one percent of the American population, according to data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its 1995 annual report. Perhaps the intelligentsia and the politicians have been too busy waxing indignant to be bothered by anything so mundane as facts.
    Alarmists are not talking about real flesh and blood people. They are talking about abstract categories like the top or bottom 10 percent or 20 percent of families or households. So long as all incomes are not identical, there will always be top and bottom 10 percents or 20 percents or any other percents. But these abstract categories do not contain the same people over time.
    Households do not contain the same numbers of people, even at a given time.
    The bottom 20 percent of households contains 39 million people, while the top 20 percent contains 64 million. Comparing households is comparing apples and oranges.
    If you are serious about considering the well-being of flesh and blood human beings, then you can talk about their real income per capita. But alarmists avoid that like the plague, because it would expose their little game for the fraud that it is.
    Real income per capita has risen 50 percent over the same span of time when household income has remained virtually unchanged. How is this possible?
    Because households are getting smaller. The very fact that there are higher incomes enables more people to afford to go out and set up their own independent households.

    Behind both the statistics on inequality that are spotlighted and the statistics on ever-changing personal incomes that are ignored is the simple fact that people just starting out in their careers usually do not make as much money as they will later, after they have had years of experience.
    Who should be surprised that 60-year-olds have higher incomes and more wealth than 30-year-olds? Moreover, that was also true 30 years ago, when today’s 60-year-olds were just 30. But these are not different classes of people. They are the same people at different stages of their lives.
    At some times and places, there have been whole classes of people who lived permanently in poverty or in luxury. But, in the United States today, the percentage of Americans who fit either description does not reach beyond single digits.
    It is one thing to be concerned about the fate of flesh and blood human beings. It is something very different to create alarms about statistical relationships between abstract categories.
    Despite desperate efforts of activists to keep “hunger in America” alive as an issue by manipulating numbers, actual examinations of flesh and blood people show no nutritional differences between people in different income brackets. In contrast to the gaunt and undernourished poor of other times and places, Americans in the lower income brackets today are slightly more likely to be overweight than is the rest of the population.
    The magnitude of statistical differences may tell very little about the condition of human beings. A two-to-one difference in the amount of food available would be very painful if it meant that those on the short end did not have enough to eat. But a thousand-to-one difference in price between wearing a Rolex and wearing a Timex is something that can be left to the alarmists — especially since both watches tell time with about the same accuracy.
    And both are a lot more accurate than “income disparity” hysteria.”

    JWR contributor Thomas Sowell, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author, most recently, of The Quest for Cosmic Justice.

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  64. Philip (9 comments) says:

    We do have to bear in mind that dear old Trotter seems to be nearing complete mental breakdown as the election nears. His opinion pieces are becoming increasingly rabid. This one, however, is laughably motherhood and apple pie. God, is that all he has got? But there is one telling comment in his article: namely, that he “looks to the state as the institutional expression of our interdependence”. Classic really – he looks for the compulsory fulfilment of collective needs. But we ordinary folk meet most of those through churches, sports and cultural clubs, political enthusiasms, charitable works, and networks of all sorts. We need the state for things like defence or the realm, the police, and a smallish scale of govt.

    And his comments about a homogenous Maori world-view are, as is so typical of liberal honkys, simply patronising to Maori.

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  65. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    strings…woof..!

    eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  66. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    fuck off with yr copy/pasting vast screeds of rightwing drivel..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  67. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RogerNome:

    “…..unreadable, long-winded verbatim quotes from crazy, far-right US websites………”

    Thank you for that.
    I rest my case.

    See, everybody? Trotter is reason and light, but the stuff I posted, an article by James Allan, an Australian writing in “The Australian” Magazine, on “Bills of Rights”, is written off by wogernomo in the above terminology.

    He must be spitting over the one I posted shortly after by the African-American economist Thomas Sowell on social mobility. Heck, the guy writes for “JEWISH World Review”, neo-con nutbars all……….

    Read the articles and make your own minds up, everybody, I am one very happy chappie at wogernomo showing his colours so prominently. Truth and reason too painful, eh, woger, just shooting the messenger is that much easier…….

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  68. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Philip (4) Add karma Subtract karma +1 Says:
    July 28th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    “We do have to bear in mind that dear old Trotter seems to be nearing complete mental breakdown as the election nears. His opinion pieces are becoming increasingly rabid. This one, however, is laughably motherhood and apple pie. God, is that all he has got? But there is one telling comment in his article: namely, that he “looks to the state as the institutional expression of our interdependence”. Classic really – he looks for the compulsory fulfilment of collective needs. But we ordinary folk meet most of those through churches, sports and cultural clubs, political enthusiasms, charitable works, and networks of all sorts. We need the state for things like defence or the realm, the police, and a smallish scale of govt.”

    WELL SAID, and welcome on board, “Philip”, we need another one of us who is not a disgrace to the name………..

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  69. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    I was going to conclude on Rogernome’s big posting above,

    “I also look to business to generate the wealth that really secures an abundant life.”

    “Absolutely, but liberal social democracies are always wealthy, and with long-run economic growth of 2-4% – so that’s not such a problem for Chris.”

    “The state can not provide jobs to everyone – unless one wants to go back to Muldoon”

    “That’s another straw-man. Full employment doesn’t have to mean 10 people doing the job of one person. There’s a lot of work to be done that could improve our environment and communities that isn’t being done – i.e. in Sweden, a lot of pollution clean up and recycling is being done by people who would otherwise be unemployed.”

    ….by saying that it is nice to see SOME agreement between roger and DPF and myself……..a nice concession there, roger, to DPF’s statement of the reality that business generates the wealth that really secures an abundant life……..and a nice concession, too, to putting the unemployed to useful work…….now if we can just come to some admission on how much “hand up / hand out” is “enough”, and just what the role of perverse incentives is, in a quantifiable sense, and what might be a better way to cope with the problems………

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  70. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    I have a few theories on increases in inequality myself, actually, roger nome. The following are causes of increasing inequality.

    Breakdown in traditional marriage. The obvious thing is the disadvantage to children brought up without a father, or with a string of perverse male role models in their lives. But also, marriage across socio-economic groups, and subsequent “inheritance”, were powerful reducers of inequality.

    Provision of services, etc, with public money, that primarily benefit the wealthy, and the neglect of infrastructure that was a greater benefit, proportionally, to lower income earners. The neglect of roads, and time wasted in congestion, has a disparate impact on the poor. The subsidy of cultural centres and art galleries benefits the wealthy at the expense of the poor. New Orleans was a classic illustration of the consequences of concentration on trendy cultural vibrancy and the like, by the local administration, at the expense of vital infrastructure that was fought tooth and nail by chardonnay greenies and NIMBY-ists.

    The “conservation” of land, and restrictive zoning, has a disparate impact on the poor, on the young and those who do not own properties, in favour of the more well-off who maintain their nice views and surroundings, while property values escalate out of reach of all who are not already on the gravy boat. An excellent article in this respect, is “Green Disparate Impact”, by Thomas Sowell. (The “poor” population of California is actually being driven out of state by escalating property values).

    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2008/01/15/green_disparate_impact?page=full&comments=true

    Increases in regulatory expense, like RMA costs, and the costs of obtaining licenses for commercial activity and the like, tend to inequality. A James Wattie could start up a food canning business in his garage. DEFINITELY NO LONGER.
    This phenomenon is well covered in the book “The Mystery of Capital” by Hernando DeSoto. Interestingly, well-established larger businesses like this phenomenon, as it keeps competition to a minimum, hence the little-publicised support of many wealthy people for regulatory, socialist politics. Incidentally, that is not “Capitalism” although the cunning socialists “spin” the issues so it gets blamed on “Capitalism”. (The correct term is Socialist Parasitism). More recommended reading, rogernome; “Intellectual Class Wars”, by David Horowitz.

    The subsidy of tertiary education with public money. Tertiary education itself, tends to increase inequality. To use taxes, which must remain necessarily high on low income earners, to subsidise this, only worsens the situation. An outright free market situation with all students paying fees, and a broader use of direct student-based “scholarships”, would actually produce less inequality than the system we have now, and would produce much better results in terms of relevant qualifications. I suggest too, that many of the poorer folk who do make it to Uni under the current system, could be tending to make poorer choices of qualification, which would be eliminated by better guidance under a scholarship-based system especially scholarships funded by private enterprise which knows of its needs for people with certain qualifications.

    I will probably think of more later, but there you have a few causes of inequality which are peculiar to our age. I trust you will respond with the same civility with which these thoughts are proffered.

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  71. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Oh, and here’s a link to “Intellectual Class War”, by David Horowitz

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/horowitz.html

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  72. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Dave Strings, WELL SAID, man……..

    I wonder if any reality is penetrating philu’s thick skull after all the effort that has been made to explain things to him?

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

    Mr Best:

    “I have a few theories on increases in inequality myself, actually, roger nome. The following are causes of increasing inequality.”

    Nah – look no further than here:

    http://rogernome.blogspot.com/2008/07/national-prepares-to-make-war-on-poor.html

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

    PhilB

    “I wonder if any reality is penetrating philu’s thick skull after all the effort that has been made to explain things to him?”

    If he’s anything like me he doesn’t read most of your posts – just the more normal length ones.

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  75. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    Sadly PhilBest
    I doubt it. Last time I looked he was barking

    at me I think :-(

    I do feel sorry for him though, I would hate to try to exist with that few braincells left – maybe a serotonin injection (or absorption inhibitor) would help? Anyone here qualified to extend an opinion?

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  76. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..If he’s anything like me he doesn’t read most of your posts – just the more normal length ones…”

    yep..!..sail right past them..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  77. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    Come on people, when discussing Comrade Trotter you only need to remember one thing; this is the man who said ” it is perfectly acceptable for the left to lie, cheat, steal and deceive just as long as they win the election”

    Why would ANYBODY believe a single word the fat prick has to say?

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  78. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    That’s a pity, because they are well researched and well reasoned. Nome was posting his thesis on this thread or another just this morning. Do you think people “sailed right past that”? I guess none so blind…

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  79. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Thank you, PaulL. As I’ve said before, I do it for the “swinging audience”, not because I think there is any hope of converting rogernome or philu or RRM……..and they know it………heaven forbid that the threads an ALL blogs be taken up with nothing but their poison, with no balance or rebuttal. I just wish someone paid me to do it full-time……..

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  80. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    It shows, doesn’t it, what rogernome and co are up to, when all they do is rush in and out of blog threads posting their poison and not actually hanging around for the counter-arguments……….

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  81. RRM (10,031 comments) says:

    “their poison”?

    I am fascinated that you lump together “people who disagree with your politics” as some sort of homogeneous, suspicious foreign force that you feel the need to bitch about, as if it’s not enough to merely argue their points effectively.

    I am also pretty confident that a writer/researcher of your obvious skills would be fairly unsatisfied with preaching to the converted, in a happily one-eyed circle jerk type environment where the debate accomplishes little more than to find who hates Liarbore the most…?

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  82. RRM (10,031 comments) says:

    PS: But while we’re on this personal note, I would refer you to my total number of posts, Vis-a-vis (PhilU’s, Roger nome’s, and YOURS sweetie) before you get too far down the track of whose “poison” the threads are made up of “nothing other than”…

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  83. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    ““……how intellectually bankrupt the right-wing liberal philosophy really is. It’s all about keeping, single, white, upper-middle class male money where the old-world social and market institutions allocate it…….””

    You forget that most of the capitlists in the world are not in fact white. There are an awful lot of Latino, Japanese, Indian, Arab, Black and Asian capitalists out there. You are so racist.

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

    OK Mr Best – I just bothered reading the beginning of one of your long, lazy cut and pastes. Predictably, it’s B.S.

    “n absolute majority of the people who were in the bottom 20 percent in 1975 have also been in the top 20 percent at some time since then. Most Americans don’t stay put in any income bracket. At different times, they are both “rich” and “poor” — as these terms are recklessly thrown around in the media.”

    But even if this is true (which we’ve seen no original source evidence for) – many rich kids start off in low-paid jobs but benefit from their parents numerous ways (i.e. private school education, parent’s connections = entry level jobs, inheritance money later in life, gifts from parents that aren’t counted as income etc …).

    That’s why the OECD uses “intergenerational income heritability” instead of “social mobility” as an indicator of how rigid class boundaries are. If you had gone to my link further up the thread you would see that they’re worst in free-market economies with high income inequality.

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

    “You forget that most of the capitlists in the world”

    Was talking about the NZ context idiot.

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  86. TomYum (23 comments) says:

    What! No iPod? You utter, utter bastards.

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  87. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    Chris Trotter wrote in the op Article”and discovering the best means of prospering together, is the historic task of the two peoples fated to share these islands Maori and Pakeha.”

    Trotter seems to have a selective view of history, last time I looked there never was such a thing as “two people” in this nation after foreign settlement, this nation has been settled by a multitude of peoples of different backgrounds. We have Chinese here, English, Dutch, Romanian, Somalian, Japanese, peoples from all over the world certainly, not “two peoples”. To divide us into two camps in such a false and arbitrary manner is both ignorant and offensive, whatever our background, we should be ‘one nation’.

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

    Stuart Mackey

    “whatever our background, we should be ‘one nation’.”

    Yep, screw the treaty of waitangi (what founding document?), screw the massive theft of land that occurred only several generations ago … etc etc. ignorant dolt.

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  89. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    “indigenous people possess a clear and poignant vision of humanity’s place in these islands”

    Trotter is lost in space. The only questions that remain are:

    a) Where did he lift that quote from, it sounds like the type of tripe a sociology/politics student would insert into the first para of their thesis to curry favour with the limpo’s marking it.

    b) which character he is playing, Dr Zachary Smith or Judy Robinson.

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  90. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    Roger

    Are you a passenger on the out of control treaty gravy train by any chance?

    Or are you just one of those fools who thinks that Maori failure can be put down to colonisation?

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  91. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    I see on Frog that Mathew Hooton had and interesting bit on Trotter in the SST but cant find it online, anyone have a link?

    “Matthew Hooton lashes out a Chris Trotter today in the Sunday Star Times. He gets so personal that after I write this, I’ll dig up Trotter’s article from last week and have a read”

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2008/07/27/hooton-is-half-right/

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  92. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    # roger nome (3824) Add karma Subtract karma +0 Says:
    July 28th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Stuart Mackey

    “whatever our background, we should be ‘one nation’.”

    Yep, screw the treaty of waitangi (what founding document?), screw the massive theft of land that occurred only several generations ago … etc etc. ignorant dolt.

    Don’t straw man what I write, or take it out of context you intellectually dishonest goitre, I never denied past injustice in this nation, only that there are more than two peoples here, (or perhaps you care to show evidence that there are not?).
    How is it that you seem to think that saying that we should be one nation somehow means “screw the treaty of Waitangi”? I never said that, whelp: Reread it you illiterate fool, and this time try and comprehend it.

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  93. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    “# big bruv (1136) Add karma Subtract karma +1 Says:
    July 28th, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Roger

    Are you a passenger on the out of control treaty gravy train by any chance?

    Or are you just one of those fools who thinks that Maori failure can be put down to colonisation?”

    I am new here, but from what he has written in response to me, literacy seems to be his principle challenge.

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  94. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    What a heap of sanctimonious, sickly commie treacle. I doubt if Trotter believes in much more then self preservation and a deep desire to impose a rather warped ideology over anyone except the commie elite, those been so called academics like himself and the plethora of gravy suckers, bureaucrates and union leaders. As much as he might try you can not make a silk purse out of sow’s ear, I really don’t know why he bothers, he fools no one.

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  95. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    SSB – Further, I doubt that ANY of Labour MP believes this socialist crap. It’s simply a platform for differentiation, and for the sowing of fear into the hearts of lemming voters… to assure their continued grasp of intoxicating power. Each and every one of them craves power, prestige, status, assets.. the evil tory aspirations they rail against with sound-bite perfection.

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  96. Duxton (657 comments) says:

    I was somewhat bemused to read Chris Trotter refusal to accept the artibrary dispersal of our resources, the slow fragmentation and dilution of our rights, or the surrender of of our sovereignty to overseas interests.

    Does this mean that he, too, is angry about the Labour-led government’s approval of the sale of Wellington’s power supply to Chinese interests, imposition of limitations on free speech under the Electoral Finance Act, and increasing willingness to allow United Nations’ rulings to shape New Zealand law?

    Or is this just another example of his arrant hypocrisy? My money’s on the latter.

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  97. paradigm (452 comments) says:

    “Only so long as, in the judgement of the many, the possession by a fortunate few of social, political and economic privileges serves the community as a whole, will those privileges endure.”

    My thoughts:
    The state was created to serve and protect the individuals within it, were this not the case individuals would have never come together to form it in the first instance. To this end the primary function of the state must be to protect the rights of the individuals inhabiting it, most notably the right of ownership of material possessions – “wealth” (or “economic privileges” in Mr Trotter’s words). There are those who argue that the state has grown beyond this now: that it has become an entity in its own, and that the rights of the individual should be compromised to serve the interests of the state (or some euphemism there of such as “the many” or “the people”). There is of course a name for something growing beyond its intended purpose and siphoning resources from productive and useful areas to perpetuate its self, in medicine it is referred to as cancer.

    “The indigenous people possess a clear and poignant vision of humanity’s place in these islands.”

    One can’t help but note that, prior to the arrival of Europeans, this vision included cannibalism, slavery, torture including (but by no means limited to) immolation and the siphoning of blood directly out of a victim’s veins, infanticide, mass murder, and a “justice” system based around all of the prior atrocities. Furthermore the vision they had of humanity’s place was based solely around primitive superstition. This combined with their lack of written language to objectively preserve information, no concept of objective analysis and the scientific method certainly yields a “clear and poignant vision”: one of being trapped in a perpetual dark age, a hell on earth if you will.

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  98. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    # roger nome (3826) Add karma Subtract karma –7 Says:
    July 28th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    “Stuart Mackey……”

    “whatever our background, we should be ‘one nation’.”

    “Yep, screw the treaty of waitangi (what founding document?)……..”

    Where in the Treaty of Waitangi does it provide for two separate nations, rogernome? Was full citizenship in the British Empire not a valuable part of the bargain?

    “Paradigm” above, says it well:

    “The indigenous people possess a clear and poignant vision of humanity’s place in these islands.”

    “One can’t help but note that, prior to the arrival of Europeans, this vision included cannibalism, slavery, torture including (but by no means limited to) immolation and the siphoning of blood directly out of a victim’s veins, infanticide, mass murder, and a “justice” system based around all of the prior atrocities. Furthermore the vision they had of humanity’s place was based solely around primitive superstition. This combined with their lack of written language to objectively preserve information, no concept of objective analysis and the scientific method certainly yields a “clear and poignant vision”: one of being trapped in a perpetual dark age, a hell on earth if you will.”

    Have you read Sir Apirana Ngata’s booklet explaining the Treaty of Waitangi? Look, what we should be celebrating about the NZ Maori is that they were the only indigenous people in the whole world who intelligently negotiated the rights of British Citizenship for themselves, exchanging the “hell on earth” that “paradigm” refers to for the Rule of Law and Human Rights.

    That is not to deny that land transaction injustices occurred and that they be addressed, but neither should the whole process be “captured” by a “Maori upper class” minority or some minority who are the only people who have identified themselves as the descendants of those who were unfairly treated. Note too, that the process of much of the unfair land transactions at the time were overseen by the Crown.

    I do believe that the era of the Maori Battalions and the following years of fully employed, hardworking Maori and intact Maori families were like the “golden age” for them. The rate of intermarriage between Maori and Pakeha is also a healthy sign of the breakdown of racial taboos. What we have had in NZ is the happiest melting pot in the world, and we should celebrate that. We have allowed a deliberate Gramscian plan to go forward to sow and foster grievance and cultures of victimhood and entitlement and social breakdown and excuses for failure and crime, at the most terrible peril for this wonderful society.

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  99. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RRM:

    “I would refer you to my total number of posts, Vis-a-vis (PhilU’s, Roger nome’s, and YOURS sweetie) before you get too far down the track of whose “poison” the threads are made up of “nothing other than”…

    Sure, and apart from a few forays into “The Standard” and even fewer to TBR.CC, what you see on “Kiwiblog” is the sum total of MY efforts in the blogosphere. Roger Nome is ahead of me on Kiwiblog alone by a factor of almost two to one, and he is a very busy man all over the blogosphere. I think we are entitled to ask him who pays him to do it? I am not so aware of your scale of activity elsewhere.

    Note that this thread is one of the rare occasions that I put some serious time into the argument. I am sometimes absent altogether for days. I do have to earn my own income.

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  100. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..I am sometimes absent altogether for days..”

    aren’t you somewhat overdue..for one of those..?

    kiwiblog should have a verbiage ranking..

    you’d be number one..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  101. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RRM:

    “I am also pretty confident that a writer/researcher of your obvious skills would be fairly unsatisfied with preaching to the converted, in a happily one-eyed circle jerk type environment where the debate accomplishes little more than to find who hates Liarbore the most…?”

    Agree. Well said. There’s nothing like a good debate. It’s just possible though, that there is a more well-organised effort on the part of the Left, funded from goodness knows where, to spread “rebuttals” fast and furious, counting on “conservatives” to be too busy earning a living to be able to mount an effective defence.

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  102. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    sorry..make that ‘other peoples verbiage’)..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  103. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    # roger nome (3826) –8 Says:
    July 28th, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    “You forget that most of the capitlists in the world”

    “Was talking about the NZ context idiot.”

    Problem in NZ, roger nome, is that there is not ENOUGH truly rich people. People just 20% above the average wage, already low by international standards, are apparently “rich pricks”. And a lawnmower and chainsaw shop owner and an office fitout guy are, apparently, in the worldview of the NZ Left, part of a plot of “the super wealthy” to exploit the proletariat.

    FFS.

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  104. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    # roger nome (3826) Add karma Subtract karma –5 Says:
    July 28th, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Mr Best:

    “I have a few theories on increases in inequality myself, actually, roger nome. The following are causes of increasing inequality.”

    “Nah – look no further than here:” (link follows to a whole lot of theory straight out of Karl Marx about plots of the bourgeoisie to exploit the proletariat).

    NAH. Simple as that, eh? None of the factors I suggested might be causes of inequality? Are you SERIOUS?

    Talk about the Left Bank of Denial………..if it’s not in the K. Marx playbook, it can’t exist.

    Another factor not on my list above; The trend for wealthier people to have children later in life, and have less of them, while poorer people still have larger families, tend to start earlier, and the worst of all are the early-starting solos.

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  105. Nomestradamus (3,433 comments) says:

    PhilBest:

    I think Phil, Phillip John/Roger Nome and RRM all have raw nerves – please continue applying the “shock and awe” treatment :)

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  106. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    it’s not so much ‘shock and awe’..

    ..as ‘shock and bore”..

    (haven’t you noticed he just keeps on talking to himself..?

    ..long after everyone else has left the room..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  107. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Thank you “Nomestradamus”.

    For special effect, I shall now discuss the OECD paper that Nome has been going on about.

    Firstly, there is not a correlation between free market capitalist economies current inequality levels and intergenerational inequality levels at all. The paper specifically points this out.

    Culture and attitude is regarded as important as well as actual income disparities in the first place. The paper emphasises the inadequacy of “wealth transfers” as a solution to the problem, due to the primary importance of behaviour. The paper suggests that attention to child education is the most important thing to focus on. Stable family structures get a nod too.

    So, rogernome, what point was it that you were trying to use this paper in support of? Remind us again.

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  108. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    Philip John: since Paul’s last post I haven’t seen anything but ridiculous straw-man type arguments from people who lack the detail of knowledge to argue in specifics. Over it.

    Translation: “I have no counter, thus I will claim victory and leave the thread! Hahaha! I win another day!”

    Philip John: If he’s anything like me he doesn’t read most of your posts – just the more normal length ones.

    As a member of the soundbite generation, it’s hardly surprising you don’t have the intellect or will to actually read, learn and understand the written word. It also explains why you’re unable to form a logical argument. But no matter, those of us who do read and who do learn see you for the hollow little fool you are.

    Now go on. Claim victory again, don your tutu and tell us how many pushups you can do. And then exit stage left, please.

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

    Phil:

    “there is not a correlation between free market capitalist economies current inequality levels and intergenerational inequality levels at all.”

    Actually there is. You just don’t understand the word “correlation”.

    For your education:

    Correlation “the degree to which two or more attributes or measurements on the same group of elements show a tendency to vary together.

    The graph clearly shows that intergenerational income heritability and income inequality tend to vary together amongst countries.

    What you’re in fact trying to argue is that there’s no causal relationship, And in that argument you also fail because the study concludes that:

    ….there seems to be a relation between cross-section income inequality and intergenerational earnings mobility. To promote equality of opportunity might then
    require reducing current income inequality.
    (pg 47.

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

    Philbest:

    “The trend for wealthier people to have children later in life, and have less of them, while poorer people still have larger families, tend to start earlier, and the worst of all are the early-starting solos.”

    Oh yes, let’s not worry about the facts. Let us forget that wages in the bottom half of the labour market have been stagnant for the last 20 years, whilst the wages of professionals have raced ahead. Let us instead take as gospel the off-the-cuff vague speculations of PhilBest.

    Here’s another statistical analysis (a treasury paper none the less) that will no doubt leave Mr Best in denial:

    about 60 percent of the increase in income inequality among the employed over the period 1986 to 1996 can be accounted for by shifts in labour force composition, and by widening income differentials by occupation, education, industry and age.

    (pg 12).

    That’s called de-unionisation Mr Best.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2000/00-13 – 87k

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  111. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “(haven’t you noticed he just keeps on talking to himself..?
    ..long after everyone else has left the room..”

    errrr how would anyone notice that Philu? – looks like you haven’t noticed you are posting on the net.
    You really are on some serious drugs aren’t you?

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  112. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RogerNome:

    “The graph clearly shows that intergenerational income heritability and income inequality tend to vary together amongst countries.”

    OK, so papers written in carefully neutral bureaucratese can be interpreted either way, not to mention if they definitely contradict themselves from one section to another.

    From the Conclusion of the OECD Paper:

    “Although there is NO CONSENSUS in the literature, some evidence SUGGESTS that those countries with low intergenerational (earnings) mobility are the same as those who have the highest level of income inequality…………..
    ……….However, there are some interesting anomalies. Australia and Canada are more unequal societies than a number of European Countries……but they are among the most intergenerationally mobile……..”

    Some more gems from the Conclusion:

    “……..even with fair equality of opportunity, intergenerational mobility may be low, due to factors that CANNOT BE EQUALISED………….
    ………child poverty is not just low income but also deep-seated factors that transmit from generation to generation: in this case, identifying and alleviating the barriers to intergenerational mobility is crucial………”

    “………While education is a major contributor to intergenerational income mobility, other factors matter. However, the part of the transmission process that remains unexplained in SUBSTANTIAL and other channels deserve further attention. The extent to which income differences are transmitted from parents to their children also depends on the combined effect of parental preferences to invest in their children, the rate of return on those investments, and the extent to which other family background characteristics (eg cultural or social networks) are transmitted to the children……..
    ……….while many children have fared better than their parents in recent decades, this primarily reflects strong economic growth……”

    “…..FAMILY STRUCTURE also seems to matter, perhaps for reasons that go beyond income and are likely to be related to the ROLE MODEL that parents provide, to the attitudes they pass on to their children…….
    ………most evidence relates to SONS…….further evidence on the effect of parental income on DAUGHTERS would be useful……”

    “…….The literature surveyed suggests that variations in income and educational attainment are NOT SUFFICIENT to explain the family influence on the extent of intergenerational mobility. Going beyond the effects of parental income on child outcomes would require the investigation of household behaviour IN RESPONSE TO INSTITUTIONAL INTERVENTIONS……..”

    “…….The evidence suggests that interventions targeted at improving childhood outcomes are desirable………
    ……..Doing so by helping parents WORK can be more effective than by giving them cash transfers, as this may contribute to change attitudes or behaviours. Indeed, there is evidence that parental BEHAVIOURS can be transmitted across generations, and that these seem to be more important than intelligence in explaining the intergenerational correlation of income. Having a WORKING PARENT as a role model is important. Reducing the stress and anxiety of children, from whatever source, will have a pay-off in the incomes they subsequently command. Targeting intensive health, nutrition and care supports on particularly deprived households or areas is highly desirable. More important, getting good quality care in early childhood, pre-school and school is the essential tool for promoting intergenerational mobility.”

    (END OF PAPER).

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  113. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..errrr how would anyone notice that Philu? – looks like you haven’t noticed you are posting on the net.
    You really are on some serious drugs aren’t you?..”

    you really are a ‘simple soul’..aren’t you starr..?

    ..literal to the tips of your fingers.

    an imagination/creativity-free zone..

    and..are you a taurus..”..or a virgo..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  114. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    AND RogerNome:

    “What you’re in fact trying to argue is that there’s no causal relationship, And in that argument you also fail because the study concludes that:

    ….there seems to be a relation between cross-section income inequality and intergenerational earnings mobility. To promote equality of opportunity might then require reducing current income inequality.”

    No, I am not trying to argue that there is no causal relationship, just that it is not the only cause, and that furthermore, the factors IN FREE COUNTRIES that lead to inequality are NOT A BAD THING.

    Here is the OECD Report again, from the “Summary”:

    “Low intergenerational mobility has important policy implications as it implies that the life chances of individuals will partly reflect characteristics for which they are not responsible. However, it should be emphasised that, while it is often possible to quantify the extent of intergenerational mobility with a single number (eg in the case of income), this qualification does not imply a judgement about what mobility SHOULD be. No society is completely mobile or immobile and some of the mechanisms contributing to intergenerational persistence of outcomes are BOTH ACCEPTABLE AND INDEED DESIRABLE…..”

    I couldn’t put it better than that.

    And from the “Introduction”:

    “……..while reducing the negative effects of parental background on child outcomes is something that most policy makers would wish to promote, it is relevant to note that a society in which the circumstances and behaviours of parents had NO effect (their emphasis) on outcomes for their children would NOT be desirable. The vast majority of parents want to do the best that they can for their children, investing time, emotional commitment and money in them. Some ways in which parents influence the development of their children are both desirable and acceptable…….”

    “……whether the resulting inequality ought to be the target of policy interventions will depend on how equity is defined and on the efficiency losses that arise from attempts to modify mobility. Therefore, there is no consensus about the desirability of policies directed at modifying intergenerational socio-economic mobility. In addition, it is difficult to identify the spheres of the family background that matter most………”

    MORE from the “Conclusion”:

    “The possibility of summarising the information on intergenerational mobility with a single number (eg in the case of income) does not imply that an optimal value of mobility exists or that consensus can be easily reached on the role of social policy in achieving it. Such consensus obviously depends on personal values. Nonetheless, a completely mobile society (with total independence between origins and destinations) in not necessarily desirable, as some of the mechanisms contributing to intergenerational persistence are economically efficient, normatively acceptable, or both………”

    SO. There we have it. I don’t have any problem with THAT assessment. Do you, roger?

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

    PhilBest:

    “OK, so papers written in carefully neutral bureaucratese can be interpreted either way”

    No, you still don’t understand what “correlation” means.

    Also, the paper doesn’t necessarily contradict itself, it just says that various studies have found differing things, but it notes that:

    there seems to be a relation between cross-section income inequality and intergenerational earnings mobility. To promote equality of opportunity might then require reducing current income inequality.

    Also, as you point out, the paper says :

    It suggests that the influence of schooling and wealth is very large: highly educated and
    wealthy parents, with higher income, are more likely to have children with high income. If parental income
    matters, other parental characteristics matter as well.

    I would argue that these things are in practice very difficult to separate, because if your only experience is poverty, the person’s attitude is likely to reflect that – there is less hope in poverty.

    Also, wider income gaps create more exclusive social groupings (i.e. poor kids don’t go on ski trips with the rich kids), making it harder for people to “cross over” into other income groupings.

    The correlation between income inequality and intergenerational income heritability is there on paper. The reasons for it being that way are just difficult to measure.

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  116. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RogerNome:

    “The trend for wealthier people to have children later in life, and have less of them, while poorer people still have larger families, tend to start earlier, and the worst of all are the early-starting solos.”

    “Oh yes, let’s not worry about the facts. Let us forget that wages in the bottom half of the labour market have been stagnant for the last 20 years, whilst the wages of professionals have raced ahead. Let us instead take as gospel the off-the-cuff vague speculations of PhilBest.”

    Excuse me. Do you dispute that it is a fact that “The trend for wealthier people to have children later in life, and have less of them, while poorer people still have larger families, tend to start earlier, and the worst of all are the early-starting solos.”?

    Because I do not dispute that it is a fact that “wages in the bottom half of the labour market have been stagnant for the last 20 years, whilst the wages of professionals have raced ahead”. I do object to policy endeavours that do more harm than good. As the OECD so kindly put it for me:

    “whether the resulting inequality ought to be the target of policy interventions will depend on how equity is defined and on the efficiency losses that arise from attempts to modify mobility”.

    Note that: EFFICIENCY LOSSES that arise from attempts to modify mobility. We are coming back to the same hoary old debate again, roger. If there is no “market” that says one vocation is more valuable than another, if there is to be no rewards for greater effort and self-improvement, what do we have left but the dismal hulk of the planned economy and universal poverty?

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  117. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    I do too understand what “correlation” means, AND “causation”, AND that the one does not imply the other. I dispute the existence of a “correlation” in the graph in which YOU say there IS one. And I have quoted the OECD paper’s own conclusions on that point.

    I do not dispute that there is SOME “causation”. I just think that the causation is a lesser evil than a system that would remove it altogether.

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  118. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Well Philu, I’d guess your creativity is more a result of hallucinogenic drugs rather than a natural process.

    PS. taurus….or a virgo? – hate to break it to you – the tooth fairy isn’t real either

    (Have you got a job yet?)

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

    PhilBest-

    “Having a WORKING PARENT as a role model is important. Reducing the stress and anxiety of children, from whatever source, will have a pay-off in the incomes they subsequently command.”

    There may be something in that. Did you notice that the socialist Nordic countries have the lowest income inequality? Well, they also have the highest employment rates because they have a policy of full employment, that the free-market US and UK economies don’t.

    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/15/24/38335554.pdf

    But full-employment costs in terms of wealth transfer because it involves state-subsidised jobs, and well-resourced job-finding state services. So low income inequality and full employment are partially the same thing.

    Also, while I do acknowledge that non-market spending involves fiscal drag, I don’t think you can argue that the policy of full employment and low income inequality is killing the Nordic countries.

    The following is from the international tribune:

    Nordic countries are more likely than those of any other region to see strong economic growth, the World Economic Forum concluded in a study released Wednesday.

    Finland ended up in first place in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, which ranks 117 countries. Four other Nordic countries made the top 10.

    It was the second consecutive year that Finland topped the list. Also for the second time, the United States, the world’s largest economy, was ranked second.

    “They have got themselves in a virtuous cycle,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, author of the report. Businesses trust government, tax returns are high and this can be invested back into societies, he said, adding that the model can be replicated, as shown by the strides Chile has made in recent years. “I don’t think it’s a cultural trait of the Nordics,” he said. “It can be done.”

    The study assigned scores to nations by looking at factors like government economic policy, the strength of local institutions and the degree to which technology has been used to bolster growth.

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

    “I dispute the existence of a “correlation” in the graph in which YOU say there IS one.”

    Then you still don’t understand what correlation means. It merely implies a trend involving two different variables – and the scatter graph clearly shows a directional trend. You’re patently wrong.

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

    “. Do you dispute that it is a fact that “The trend for wealthier people to have children later in life, and have less of them, while poorer people still have larger families, tend to start earlier, and the worst of all are the early-starting solos.”?”

    I do dispute that it’s a significant causal factor in the increase of income inequality that we’ve seen over the last 20 years. I’ve shown you the data and analysis that explains over half the increase in income inequality. Where’s your proof? All you’ve got is bullshit speculation.

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  122. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    There will always be inequality as long as there is freedom. Paradoxically, as long as pathological cases that make up the very bottom of the socio-economic stack are taken into consideration, increasing prosperity FOR ALL, WILL involve an increase in inequality. The more absolute mobility there is for the lowest bracket, the more inequality there will be. The more rags-to-riches cases there are, the more the inequality. The more SUCCESSFUL the measures taken to change the outcomes for children of the lowest socio-economic group, the more inequality there will be.

    Obsession with inequality, and a disregard of absolute improvements in the conditions for all, and a disregard of the conditions that produce those absolute improvements, is what gives us the ruination of Communism.

    That is not to say that we cannot identify obstacles to self-improvement, particularly for those who are the least well off in the first place, nor that we cannot identify destructive social behaviours that are also responsible. And THAT is where we are poles apart, roger. MY program to tackle both deprivation and inequality would involve: (at random)

    abolishing taxes on the lowest income earners altogether; welfare reform; removal of fiscal penalties for 2-parent families; an end to the vicious circle of the incentivisation of solo motherhood and irresponsible, predatory males; school choice; removal of land use restrictions to make home ownership achievable again; a “back to basics” approach in the use of public money for needed infrastructure in lieu of for well-off special interests; winding back of the use of public money in the broad, “shotgun approach” subsidy of tertiary education in favour of scholarships and targeted assistance for qualifications in areas that are needed the most, preferably provided by private enterprise with tax breaks; exemptions and fast-tracking regarding restrictions, applications and fees on land use, business startups, and the like, for all those to whom these things represent insurmountable obstacles; assistance for ownership of late-model, efficient cars for the lowest income earners and the reduction of the absurd fiscal penalty of subsidy of public transport that does not in fact achieve its stated purpose; a tax and regulatory regime that favours economic growth and the uptake of new technology and capital; assistance and fast-tracking for home installed wind turbines and solar panels to bring about an improvement in energy independence at the level of the home………..

    OK that will do, I don’t have a “manifesto”, but you get the idea?

    What have YOU got? Soak the “rich”, give to the “poor”?

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  123. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    roger nome (3838) Add karma Subtract karma +0 Says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    “. Do you dispute that it is a fact that “The trend for wealthier people to have children later in life, and have less of them, while poorer people still have larger families, tend to start earlier, and the worst of all are the early-starting solos.”?”

    “I do dispute that it’s a significant causal factor in the increase of income inequality that we’ve seen over the last 20 years. I’ve shown you the data and analysis that explains over half the increase in income inequality. Where’s your proof? All you’ve got is bullshit speculation.”

    So wealthier people having fewer children, later in life, and poorer people having more children, earlier in life, cannot be a significant causal factor in increasing inequality? In fact, such a suggestion is “bullshit speculation”?

    FINE. I’ll let that argument rest there.

    But DO address what I am saying about increasing absolute well-being, increasing inequality, and the lesser evil inherent in that, won’t you?

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

    “There will always be inequality as long as there is freedom.”

    And? WHo’s arguing that all inequality be eradicated? Not me.

    Are you trying to say that there is less “freedom” in the Nordic socialist countries than there is in the US?

    From where I’m sitting the socialist countries are freer – your destiny is far less dictated by who your parents are, adn it’s widely acknowledged that they’re the most socially liberal countries on the planet.

    Indeed, according to the United Nation’s human freedom index, the Nordic countries are far freer than the US is.

    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/8Comparison.htm#Back87

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

    “So wealthier people having fewer children, later in life, and poorer people having more children, earlier in life, cannot be a significant causal factor in increasing inequality?”

    Not unless you can show that this factor has increased significantly over the last 20 years. Well can you?

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  126. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    # roger nome (3838) Add karma Subtract karma +0 Says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    “I dispute the existence of a “correlation” in the graph in which YOU say there IS one.”

    “Then you still don’t understand what correlation means. It merely implies a trend involving two different variables – and the scatter graph clearly shows a directional trend. You’re patently wrong.”

    OK, OK, someone drew a line through the middle of the points on the graph. Of twelve examples, there are three “outliers”. Let’s agree to call it a “weak correlation”.

    But whatever, even if there is CAUSATION, which is more important, and by the way, as I already said, I don’t dispute SOME causation, what I want to talk about is ALL the causes, particularly the ones that are the RESULT of BAD politically-introduced distortions into natural patterns of economic development; and what are the best policies to bring about absolute improvement in the lot of the least well off, PARTICULARLY, what BAD politically-introduced distortions into natural patterns of economic development SHOULD BE abolished or wound back, ON THE GROUNDS of the DAMAGE they have done to the LEAST well-off. I’ve made quite a few suggestions on this thread……….

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

    “he more absolute mobility there is for the lowest bracket, the more inequality there will be.”

    Now that’s some orwellian bullshit if ever i saw it. Your manifesto is the culmination of a lifetime listening to the likes of Bill O’reilly spout endless unsupported, mythical, far-right drivel. Look at the facts for a change. Let reality guid you opinions instead of crap and you might start to join the rest of us somewhere near the center of the political spectrum.

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

    “DO address what I am saying about increasing absolute well-being, increasing inequality, and the lesser evil inherent in that, won’t you?”

    What? Can you not read? I’ll post it again to see if you can understand it.

    Nordic countries are more likely than those of any other region to see strong economic growth, the World Economic Forum concluded in a study released Wednesday.

    Finland ended up in first place in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, which ranks 117 countries. Four other Nordic countries made the top 10.

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  129. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    RogerNome:

    “From where I’m sitting the socialist countries are freer – your destiny is far less dictated by who your parents are, adn (sic) it’s widely acknowledged that they’re the most socially liberal countries on the planet.”

    From where I’M sitting, parents in Socialist countries have less say in how much they can do for their children. And “socially liberal” is not the same thing as “liberal”.

    Joseph Schumpeter said 50 years ago about Swedish socialism, that it worked because the Swedes are Swedes, not because Socialism is Socialism. In most other countries, the perverse incentives of welfarism create bigger problems than they solve, almost overnight, but Swedes have had a strong social conscience that prevented this, because of how entrenched Lutheranism was. It was Christian to look after the poor, and it was Christian to act responsibly regarding yourself and your family. But the “Social Liberal” revolution is just taking longer to ruin Sweden, that’s all. They have actually taken pains to reincentivise the 2-parent family in recent years, but of course, much of the burden has been thrust onto employers.

    It has taken longer, too, for Swedes to decide to emigrate in great numbers to escape punitive tax rates. Then there is their lunatic approach to immigration and multiculturalism. Nah, the burdens that Sweden has created for itself are really, really starting to bite. Watch that space.

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

    “But whatever, even if there is CAUSATION, which is more important, and by the way, as I already said, I don’t dispute SOME causation, what I want to talk about is ALL the causes”

    I don’t think the correlation is at all incidental (BTW there are no extreme outliers. They all fall broadly into the pattern). I’ve given the reasons for why the correlation isn’t incidental, along with the reasons that the OECD study gives. So this takes us back to justice. Is it just for most people’s material destiny to be dictated by what family they’re born into (i.e. the US)? No way, that’s why wealth redistribution is necessary for justice. It does seem that strong funding of the education system is the most effective way in which wealth can be redistributed however.

    I would also support a generous food voucher system for beneficiaries and low income earners so their children are better nourished (not redeemable for alcohol or cigarettes). Nutrition is very important for brain/IQ development, and low income earners need more options there. We also need to rejoin the vast majority of OECD countries with centralised collective bargaining so wage inequality is reduced.

    Otherwise I agree that low income earners shouldn’t be taxed, though neither of our main parties seem to like this idea.

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

    “Joseph Schumpeter said 50 years ago about Swedish socialism, that it worked because the Swedes are Swedes, not because Socialism is Socialism.”

    Once again Mr Best – your reading skills appear to be failing you. I posted further up the thread:

    “They have got themselves in a virtuous cycle,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, author of the report. Businesses trust government, tax returns are high and this can be invested back into societies, he said, adding that the model can be replicated, as shown by the strides Chile has made in recent years. “I don’t think it’s a cultural trait of the Nordics,” he said. “It can be done.”

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  132. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    That is interesting, Roger Nome:

    “They have got themselves in a virtuous cycle,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, author of the report. Businesses trust government, tax returns are high and this can be invested back into societies, he said, adding that the model can be replicated, as shown by the strides Chile has made in recent years. “I don’t think it’s a cultural trait of the Nordics,” he said. “It can be done.”

    I DO happen to think it is a cultural trait of the Nordics. Sorry.

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

    Interesting discussion Phil, but got to go now, the GF is getting angry. You understand :-)

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  134. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Same. Nice to end on a courteous note Mr Nome.

    (I really must work out how to do the smiley face thing)

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  135. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    That is one interesting study, actually, Mr Nome. Perhaps there will be further occasion to discuss it another day, another thread, eh?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Competitiveness_Report

    Well worth reading. What I take out of it, is the importance of culture.

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