Posts by Rich of Observationz

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  • Speaker: Look in the Mirror, New Zealand,

    Like, Al Capone was the result of Italian immigration to the US in the 19th Century, not the fact that (alcohol) prohibition created a huge market that could only be met through criminality.

    Suggesting that groups of people are inherently prone to crime is racism. I don't know why Russell tolerates it on his blog when there are plenty of other places to take that sort of thing?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: About Campbell Live,

    It will be hard to stop visiting Hip Group cafes but there are a lot of other nice cafes in Auckland.

    Another good reason to move.

    I don't think government ministers ever go in Cuba St cafes, but if they did, then the slightest bit of barista or solicita fondling would result in a sharp whack with an empty bottle of craft beer, and the owners would most likely back them up.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: What has Neoliberalism Done for…,

    I’d recommend reading David Graeber's new book, The Utopia Of Rules.

    One argument he makes is that neo-liberalism isn’t more efficient than socialism (or indeed Muldoonism), it’s just differently inefficient.

    A canonical example of Muldoonist inefficiency was compulsory rail freight. That cost businesses and (mostly wealthier) consumers, with the proceeds maintaining railway workers in secure employment.

    Compare this with a prime example of neo-liberal inefficiency, the electricity pseudo-market. The costs of that mostly fall on consumers, who pay a higher price for power. The proceeds go to corporations and to the cohort of middle class workers who are kept in (insecure) jobs “selling” and marketing electricity.

    The last 30 years has seen substantial technological progress which was expected to, and should really have, seen workers able to produce more in less time and see the fruits of that in increased leisure hours. Instead, several things have happened:
    - corporate profits have increased
    - productive work in manufacturing has been replaced by an ever larger amount of administrative work, converting working class jobs into middle class ones (some of which are better paid – others, like call centre agents , are not)
    - technological progress has been diverted from the automation of “real” work into other areas (such as ever more sophisticated marketing) that don’t reduce, and often increase, the volume of (non-productive) work required from society
    - developed world workers have been replaced by cheap foreign semi-slave labour, reducing the need for automation (why buy an expensive machine when you can use slave labour for a dollar an hour?)

    We do have an alternative to neo-liberalism. Technology has the potential to vastly improve productivity (Why have call centre workers when a website can handle all transactions? Why have delivery drivers when self-driving vans become available?). The ruling classes will try and channel this into higher profits, reduced wages and an ever more insecure labour force. Is this what we want – there are alternatives?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: What has Neoliberalism Done for…, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    a ‘solidarity tax’ that rises to 5.5% – not quite sure what this is

    It was introduced to pay for the cost of unification - surprised it's still there, but the Germans were happy to pay the vast costs of integrating the East German economy into the BRD (with East Germans being able to convert their OstMarken at 1:1).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Hong Kong and The Matrix, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Suspect it's a bit of both. If we had massive coal fired industry in Wellington, it'd all blow elsewhere. Maybe I shouldn't say this, it'll give Brownlee ideas.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Somewhere* it's National…, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    If you're going to put a warning sticker on Lenin, what about Adam Smith?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reviewing the Election,

    There is a reasonable moral argument for not voting. "Democracy" is a process which enables a plurality of the population to use violence (the power of the state comes down ultimately to a monopoly of violence) to coerce a minority to comply with its wishes. If one doesn't wish to condone that, then not voting is a reasonable response.

    (Yes, I am an anarchist. One day, you might be one too).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reviewing the Election, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I took that oath, but consider that in a society governed by laws, the only duties of a citizen (which are much the same as the duties of someone passing through the Auckland transit lounge for 3 hours) are to obey those laws.

    If there isn't a law making you vote, it's your choice to do so.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reviewing the Election, in reply to BenWilson,

    So with compulsory voting, you force the non-voters to attend the ballot and at least go through the motions of expressing a preference.

    What is this meant to achieve? How is it different from declaring that the non-voters voted in the same proportion as the voters, and hence we have an imaginary 100% turnout.

    It's not removing disengagement, it's just renaming it.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reviewing the Election,

    voter contact by political parties is a key driver of voter turnout

    They don't necessarily need the roll for this.

    Because the roll (thank god) doesn't have any online contact details, online engagement doesn't involve it at all. And parties can knock on doors, attend events and a bunch of other forms of engagement without a list of voters. Also, we could have the system that applies (I think) in the UK where each party gets a free mailshot to all registered voters - that could be processed by the EC and NZ Post without giving out names and addresses.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

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