Social Reform or Revolution remains today the classic statement of the revolutionary case against reformism. And to her, reform and revolution were inextricably linked. Luxemburg supported the struggle for social reforms as well as social revolution, considering the former above all a school for the latter, whose greater historical import she made clear in analysing the mutual relations of the two. She says that ‘By struggling for economic, social and democratic reforms on a daily basis, workers become more confident, better organized and aware of the need to fight for a fundamental transformation in the way society is structured’.
In comments someone shared by bemusement
what's so wrong with examining past thinkers? Should we jettison all previous influences on our politics? I agree that we need to be on guard against the old shibboleths and constantly question sacred cows etc, but I think there's still a strong place for the theories of many earlier thinkers.
Bryce - I shared Francescas bemusement at the ongoing obsession with historical thinkers. Their lessons are not totally lost. But discussing revolution or reform in a modern context? The world had changed. A black man has been democratically elected president of the most powerful country in the world. And you still discuss revolution as if it has legitimacy. If you cannot convince peacefully by the power of your ideas in this communication era then you have no right to assert the validity of your ideas, let alone your right to rule through revolution.
The Securities Commission must take some of the blame for these debacles, particularly where prospectuses and investment statements failed to clearly identify the risks associated with several public offerings.
the identification of issuers and the lack of strong accountability are good reasons why so many nzers invest directly in property. the answer is to fix the cause not the symptom. diplock needs to be replaced with a far more activist leader backed by the government.
This is the very reason why so many NZers invest in property - the corporates are quite frankly idiots. Have alook at the yield and capital gains that one would have gotten if youd have invested in the top 10 or top 20 and look over 10 and 20 years. They are the greatest wealth destroyers you could find. Just a few minutes of investigation tells anyone who checks that big NZ business is hoiw to loose lots of money - so go for property. Yes property has ups ansd downs a bit - but no downs as bad as the corporates.
barry raises a good point. is it the nz business legislative, tax and competitive environment, which i struggle to believe or is it the attitude to business success and the quality of management available? Banks and Utilities make excellent returns from New Zealand. They have dominant shares and command prices that are not based solely on local economies of scale and competition. I believe that investment in equipment is discriminated against by the length of time the IRD allows assets to be depreciated over. I had the experience of buying a 17 year old piece of equipment internationally because that is all the business could afford.
The new Key government will need to focus on upskilling New zealand management. As someone who has spent the last few years working in the European head office of a sizeable multinational it becomes obvious how small, distant and relevant to world markets New Zealand really is. For New Zealand to prosper and increase productivity small companies going to market need to have available funds and investors need security.
To name 5 key things to improve NZ equity investor returns.
Change the NZ SEC to be an enforcement agency
Ensure that public issuers are educated and held accountable. Hotchin and others should be investigated and jailed for their roles in losses to NZ investors
Improve corporate governance and management skills through executive education
Change depreciation rates to the same as Germany. 100% in year 1.
Legislation to ensure the risksof any investment are clearly and individually highlighted.
Will Barack Obama be America's Gorbachev? He inherits the presidency at a time of American weakness and the rise of BRIC powers. It seems an opportune time for the production of an insightful report into where the world wil be in 2025. 2025: the end of US dominance .
The global trends review, produced by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) every four years, represents sobering reading in Barack Obama's intray as he prepares to take office in January. The country he inherits, the report warns, will no longer be able to "call the shots" alone, as its power over an increasingly multipolar world begins to wane.
My question is whether Obama will manage in such a way as to reduce Americas unique role as hyperpower or whether he will maintain American primacy. There is no doubt that Obama has a unique situation. He can manage US relations so that the world like America more. That will mean making America relatively weaker and more of a first among equals than a clear leader.
He will do that by weakening US expenditure on defence technology and by sapping the productive capacity of the US by redistributing gains from the entrepreneurs and industry to the unskilled.
The temptation will be there to reduce the huge defence expenditure. There is waste there but it is part of what keeps America so far ahead of the free worlds enemies.
Gorbachev was a wonderful Soviet leader for the West. He presided over Perestroika and the destruction of the soviet union and the almost fatal weakening of Russia. He is respected in the West but not in his own country.
Why does this matter. The world is unstable and requires strong guidance. There is an opportunity now for Obama to follow up the muscular approach of Bush with a Marshall plan like focus on building wealth in the poorer parts of the world. Obama seems an instinctive protectionist and redistributionist rather than a free trader entrepreneur. He has the same problem as Helen Clark in that all his background is in academia and legislature and nothing in the world of commerce and industry. That does not mean he will fail but it may mean he fails to place sufficient importance on maintaining Americas technology lead and ensuring poorer nations have the opportunity to compete on a level trade playing field.
America removing its troops from Iraq too early, avoiding use of American hard power, reducing its defence expenditure too deeply, sapping productivity through over taxation will all cause the predictions of the NIC 2025 report to come true.
This is not to say that Obama is at fault. America has consumed excessively and has huge debts to China and the Arab world to show for that. Europe is weak and introspective in hard power.
My alternative prescription would be to ride out the current economic crisis and accept that there is capitalist creative destruction taking place. Maintain the technology lead and open up trade to all the world by completing Doha.
The United Nations is flawed. It is dominated by undemocratic nations. A league of democracies and a muscular approach to dictatorships is required. America should draw India & Brazil strongly into this league and into the UN security council. They are strong and rapidly growing democracies.
Peace in the middle east can be gained by forcing the Israelis to treat Palestinians morally and eliminating the flow of rockets to Hamas and Hezbollah that cause the Israelis to be so defensive. unfortunately the only way to achieve that is to make it clear to the Mullahs supplying them from Iran that Iran will pay the price if it continues.
It will be interesting to see whether Obama's call for more EU troops will be heeded. If so there is a chance to use Western power to bring stability and peace to the remainder of the world. I honestly hope world leaders take the opportunity Obama's election brings. But I suspect that an Obama desire to be liked will bring lots of warm speeches and a slow decline in US power and the power of democracies.
I have finally changed the tagline on the blog.I hope it represents a slightly more positive view of things.Helengrad is no more.In a previous post I called it A Toxic legacy.The point that was made to me was that in order to be taken more seriously the language needs to be toned down.
I look at the last 9 years as a wasted opportunity.There have been marvellous economic conditions.But New Zealand has continued to slide in relative terms.Cullen has a left the Super fund and KiwiSaver.Both heading in the right direction.Michael Bassett has summarised the remainder of Clarks legacy much more eloquently than me and with a well informed perspective.If you have not read it I commend it.
I believe Key has started to demonstrate to the New Zealand electorate why he was so successful in financial services.Reaching out to Maori was a master stroke.They are no longer marginalised like the Greens. That decision will win the next election.Key and the NAMU government have the opportunity to change the historical perspective of Maori and end 70 years of being patronised by Labour.The example of Ngai Tahu is sufficient to explain why economic self determination is to be strongly preferred to patronising short termist welfarism.
There is an opportunity to complete treaty settlements, embed constitutional change and completely change the approach to Maori welfare and education.To be fair Pita Sharples and his colleagues have recognised this and the opportunity is there to work with rather than impose upon.
In a positive scenario I see the following.National savings in the super fund and elsewhere will be invested in improving the infrastructure of the country.Building energy production, broadband, roads and bridges.That spending will increase the wealth of the country by providing jobs and increasing the productivity of other export generating parts of the economy.
I see Maori participating in that as owners and not just as unskilled labour.Rome and was not built in a day and Maori self determination will not be resolved in 3 years but there will be important steps in the right direction.
National spent broadly the same if not more of GDP on Health and Education.Despite what the wilder accusations of the left might have you believe National is not about to chop spending to pieces.What they will do is to involve the private sector and through that competition improve productivity both in the speed and cost of what the private sector does but also by forcing the state sector to examine its practices.
Electoral Finance, the Constitution, Police governance will be addressed.They are important but not game changing.
There are some important missing parts of the jigsaw which I have only seen references.I want to make it part of a separate posts because they are so important.I hope they will remain themes of this blog and I hope to argue from a new philosophical perspective that encompasses the willingness to accept state intervention of the left and the libertarian aspects of the right.These are the issues of
àeducating and skilling the underclass and
àmotivating and incentivisingproductivity increases from the export sector
àIncreasing the wealth of New Zealand through refining the brand
àNew Zealand’s contribution to global peace and prosperity
The state and John Key’s government have a role to play in all of these.Leaving them to the market will simply not work.New Zealand has been trickling slowly down the GDP per capita league tables.That might seem a meaningless statistic but it has a hard reality in the amount of leisure time, the length and quality of life and in the natural urge of humankind to progress.
I wrote this as an email to a relative who is also a Green.
Even though it came at the cost of a national mp i am pleased that ken graham has made it into parliament. i think he wil be a valuable addition and as i sadi to you on the phone perhaps he can do for mainstream environmentalism in new zealand as his brother doug did for treaty settlements.
I think you will find the next 3 years will be preoccupied with using cullens newly created national savings to build infrastructure. that is what will bring prosperity to new zealand rather than a further slide to second class world citizenship.
Key has shown he is going to engage with Maori and I think you will see that in 3 years time Maori have delievered for their constituents by advancing treaty settlements, ensuring welfare is reformed so it is a hand up and not a hammock for maori and sensibly boosting maori participation in education and commerce. That will be a truly wonderful thing for Maori and for New Zealand if Maori are able to move on from 70 years of being patronised by Labour.
the challenge for the greens is to grow up and understand that shrill protest wil achieve nothing but parliamentary opposition and newspaper headlines. working constructively might actually achieve something.
The ETS is going to be reformed. Clark and New Zealand do not have the luxury of being able to afford to be on the bleeding edge of climate changes to economy.
Key is open to state investment in infrastructure. If you want his attention and you want to reduce nz CO2 production then get your people to work on carbon reducing approaches to energy production. dont waste time advocating reductions in consumer consumption. it is at the supply end that genuine change will come. you will get some success by supporting investment into energy production research.
Dont approach pastoral lease reform from the perspective of saving more snails. work on the basis of the true economic value of those leases and the need for farmers to pay a fair value to new zealand taxpayers for that.
Dont sabotage new zealands economy by attacking the true green ness of production. do the research to prove that environmental damage does more to damage the new zealand brand and reduce the value of our exports in the long run. Brands have value for consumers because they provide something people can trust. that is why people pay a premium for them.
The opportunity for New Zealand is to be the Waitrose of global food production. We need to get past the commoditisation of our exports. Our free range grass fed meat should not be exported as 75% chemical lean to be mixed in with factory grown beef from asia and the us. It should be on processed and branded and command a premium because of the purity of its origins.
The part the Greens can play is to be the economic and environmental custodians of the brand. Historically there have been many greens who are simply anti capitalist. This simply gets in the way of understanding the best way to protect our environment is to value it properly. as people get wealthier around the world they value a clean environment more. And they value unadulterated lands even more. The way Timberlands was finally discredited was because of the realisation there was a greater value to the virgin trees than to ripping down the forest to get at the timber. That lesson does not appear to have been learned and applied elsewhere.
Key is going to win the next election because he occupies the centre. The Greens can wait hopelessly for the next Labour government to ignore them again or they can move on from being watermelons opposed to all economic activity. There is obviously a core element of green voters who will not understand as long as they breathe that market democracy is the best combination to bring prosperity and freedom. They need to be handled in the same way National is a broad church of statist authoritarians and libertarians.
I would be interested to hear your views on where you think the Greens will go over the next 6 years.
Havving long been a believer in irrational exuberance this was an interesting factoid.FT Alphaville » Blog Archive » The demise of irrational exuberance. I now believe the market to be irrationally pessimistic. I just do not accept that no wealth has been created over the last 12 years. The world is a much better place than it was 12 years ago. The value of the 500 American largest companies and their capacity to create new wealth cannot have dimished that much. Now is the time to buy banking stocks
Crisis factoid du jour, via Bloomberg: Alan Greenspan can stop worrying about “irrational exuberance” in the U.S. stock market, 12 years after he warned investors that share prices were rising too fast. The S&P 500 fell below 744.38 today, its closing level on Dec. 5, 1996, the day then-Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan used the phrase in a speech on “The Challenge of Central Banking in a Democratic Society.”
I doubt that history will assess the Clark-Cullen Labour governments as dismissively as their critics do now. Labour's real achievements -- net government debt reduced from 20 billion to two billion before the current crisis; unemployment down to levels many people didn't think possible; a huge drop in the number of welfare beneficiaries, especially per capita; real wage growth; GDP growth that outstripped the OECD for years; a historic turnaround of trends in poverty; the repair of a public sector that was in dire straits by the end of the 90s; a serious attempt to address our savings problem via KiwiSaver and the Superannuation Fund; and a degree of stability that we now all take for granted -- outweigh any counterfactual.
I posted the following as a comment there. Time again to throw in a few thoughts. I completely disagree with your rosy assessment of Clark legacy. She is the most poisonous politician since Muldoon and arguably rivals him. You dont see a ringing endorsement of state assistance when the state house bred kid made good beats the boarding schooled child of a rich landowner? National & Winnie introduced a super scheme in the nineties and Labour opposed it for political reasons. It kept the money in individual accounts rather than the states. So they win now brownie points from history. Gould identifies productivity growth as being the most important thing to aim for. It trumps working longer as it raises per capita income. And this government has broken the positive trend in productivity growth that started in 1993 after the National government solved the last financial crisis they were left with by a Clark government.
Gould is right that the high interest rates and over valued exchange rates have held NZ back. Both major parties bear responsibility for that poor strategy. They should fear inflation less now and reduce interest rates to US/UK levels.
Key is a pragmatist. Ideology does not win in currency markets. decisiveness and practicality does. he is not going to be blinded by any ideological model but is going to do what works. Which is why you see investment in New Zealand and a willingness to spend money on infrastructure.
Nothing Cullen did broke New Zealand. It was just the slow decline brought about by the owner stripping too much cash out of a business over the long term.
The failure to rein in LAQC was part of the cause of the real estate boom. National will deal with the bust and cretins will be accusing them in future of hard right policies rather than dealing with the mess Clark and ilk created. Just like the last time National took over from Labour.
Outrageous! Teachers say raise the bar on maths and literacy tests. They are not wrong. This selection of questions for 16 year olds in New Zealand is not as hard as the questions my 11 year olds answered in the UK 11+ examination to get into one of the few remaining Grammar schools here
Take the test Would you pass NCEA numeracy? Last year 52,000 students aged about 16 waltzed through by answering questions like these, without calculators:
1. 5 boys share a bag of 55 lollies. How many lollies does each boy get?
2. There were 60 cows inside a shed. 18 walked outside. How many cows were left inside the shed?
3. 38 x 6 = ?
4. David has 35 stamps. Bruce has 70 stamps. How many stamps do they have altogether?
The answers are supplied at the end. I could accept a 1-2 year difference in difiiculty of questions. But FIVE years. It is obvious that New Zealand has serious problems in Education standards.
There has certainly been a huge amount of comment around the Palin pick. As I said over at No Minister.
I have certainly been entertaining myself over at hard news(we are over 500 comments & counting), so guilty as charged your honour.
I think the single thing that defines if is that Palin & the reason she is on the ticket took on corruption in her own party and won.
Obama would be an interesting but risky choice for the world. I dont like his 130 high indecision and I dont like his attitude to trade.
Insofar as how it impacts. We are all citizens of the world. I have ties to 3 countries, one of which was liberated from oppression by the US of A. I like what McCain has to say about improving democracy.
Clarks agenda is simple. Get ETS passed so she can move on to a UN job having demonstrated her dedication to the voodoo. Clark knows she is extremely unlikely to win and knows that Key would simply pass the same scheme as the Aussies. So she wants credit. Letting Peters stand down temporarily is the price.
There is nothing to the SFO investigation. Winnie will get off the hook. The money went to help out who it was supposed to help out and Liddell has already decided the scampi info is not credible enough. The Vela money is going to be found to not have had an influence. Far too difficult to pin down.
Peters big problem is that the donations were not declared. That is definitely a privileges issue but is probably time barred for penalties arising from non declaration. That will be enough to take his party below 5%. It stinks. Peters has made a career out of being whiter than white and eventually it was the cover up that got him. So he got money from Glenn, the Velas & Jones. Big deal. It was hiding this & denying it that caused Peters to blow his credibility
On reflection I do not believe that Ron Mark will take Rimutaka and get them back in. It would be funny if the 2.1% NZF had in polls dropped so that even if Mark did win he would not drag Winston back.
Key has done the right thing. It is a clear choice now between corruption and incompetence from the government and a change to calm integrity. Key played his only card at the perfect time. He will carry his currency skills through to government.
Mrs Palin was also believed to be a longshot ..wildly popular as governor in a state beset with political corruption. She ran in her gubernatorial campaign as a clean-government reformer and scourge of wasteful spending. ...She took a pay cut, dispensed with the gubanatorial jet, and successively killed the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” project that had become a nationwide symbol of wasteful, pork-barrel spending that Mr McCain has made a cornerstone of his campaign. “As governor I’ve stood up to politics as usual,” Mrs Palin said. “I’ve stopped wasteful spending, cut taxes, and put the people first.
I have believed for a long time that McCain will win. IMHO this firmly tips the balance. McCain has waited until Obama named slick Joe and has trumped the Dems big style.
Obama would not be where he is were he not black, but it is easy to believe that McCain would have taken a pork cutter like Palin who is so pro gun & anti abortion.
The great thing is that if McCain does do four years Palin will have received exceptional training and would be ready to be elected in her own right. All McCain has to do is to give her the remit to cut pork. He gets on with governing and she goes hunting pork. What a team.
This is one of the more astute comments I have read on the whole Peters corruption and lies debacle. A vote for Peters is a vote for a Labour Government | Kiwiblog. I have been absolutely gripped. The first time in probably 3 years that I have watched 2 question times back to back. Mind you it has been fairly busy the last few years.
Watching Parliament yesterday I was irritated by the way John key was questioning Helen Clark. He was not going over the top and fulminating at her. I was disappointed that he was not making much progress. She batted back Keys questions easily and expressed her confidence in Winston, her Foreign Minister. When he announced his plans to ditch Winston it dawned on me that she walked right into his carefully laid trap. What a finesse. When JK pulled the plug on Winston she became forever linked at the hip with a man without integrity. She made the election National versus Labour/Winston. She committed electoral suicide.
John Key did not lose his skills when he became leader of the opposition. He now has Clark exactly where he wants her. He faked her out completely. She thought she could bully on through but she has simply compromised her own integrity in the electorate eyes. There is no question but that Key must have known about that Owen letter for a week. It is dated 19 August. Great discipline to let Hide do the primary running. He knew full well during question time that he was going to announce afterwards that he was not going to do a coalition with Winston. Just get Clark right onto the hook irrevocably. Brilliant!!!
I use Bloglines | Subscribe to read blogs. I quickly picked up a subscription to Winston says. It turns out that bloglines describes the author. And the author is not winston. It appears to be "frank" and "lauralee" among others. I always knew Winston is a fraud. He is just pretending to be blogging. There is no disclosure of other authors on the blog itself, but this is hidden in the post metadata.
dpf links to a new political philosophy at Kiwiblog. Craig Emmerson, an Australian Labour MP
In a market democracy governments should serve the people instead of seeking to subjugate the people to the will of government through high taxes and heavy regulation. By allowing markets to reward hard work, risk-taking and entrepreneurship without unnecessary interference, market democrats advance freedom and self-fulfilment.
And with that thought I finally identify my true political philosophy. A strong belief in markets democracy and equality of opportunity. I have always struggled with the libertarian view that education is the obligation of parents. That makes life a total lottery mostly determined at birth. But I have never been able to cope with cradle to grave welfarism.
And the authoritarian instincts of some fellow National party members leaves me totally cold.
I look forward to reading more about the description of this philosophy.
It describes why I felt joy that Ireland rejected the perfectly sensible "treaty" that they Eurocrats are trying to implement in a completely anti democratic way and the delight that David Davis had the honour to resign his seat and fight the fascist authoritarian tendencies of this Brown government in the UK.
42 days detention without trial is not a requirement. It is an indication that you have lost precisely what you are supposed to be fighting for - freedom and the right to habeus corpus
Interesting point by Graeme Edgeler. Taxpayers financing Labour's Budget ad . Surely it is outside Parliamentary Services powers to make campaign donations whether they are acknowledged on the ad or not?
Mr Edgeler also said that under the new law, the cost of the leaflet might have to be declared as an election donation by the Parliamentary Service to the Labour Party. "If I gave the Labour Party $30,000 worth of leaflets it would be a donation - just as if they printed off $30,000 worth and sent me the bill and I paid it, that would be a donation. "I really don't see the difference between them sending a bill to me, or getting the leaflets from me, and them sending the bill to the Parliamentary Service or getting the leaflets from the Parliamentary Service." That was not how Labour intended the act to operate and would be another big embarrassment for it.
I would be interested to know how you get past that paradox
Quite willing to take undeserved credit for the good but not willing to take responsibility for the bad. Cullen is reaping what he sowed. Your socialist policies of increased middle class welfare and taxing the bejesus out of everyone so that net of tax people have not gained income on average is the root cause of these problems. There is a culture formed that people do not need to take responsibility for their own actions. The best thing Labour can do is call an election now so that National and a competent administration can take over. The problem is also caused by the high exchange rate meaning too much easy money flowing into New Zealand. While US & UK have a housing crisis the median mortgage servicing problem in NZ is far in excess of those. Incomes need to rise to service the debts. The only way that will happen is over the long term. That means cuts in corporate tax and increased capital allowances. But that is the honest option and Labour are too gutless. You want to buy some peace now. Cullen needs to drop taxes enormously and increase disposable incomes and incentives for business to invest. Raising the market demand for staff will raise incomes. But that wil take time and Labour do not have it. Cutting GST will fuel inflation. Cullen needs to force down the exchange rate. Bollard must drop interest rates