Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Is that it?

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  • Danielle, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m not sure if that’s the cause or the effect, though.

    Does it matter?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3582 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Nobody here, necessarily, but society does value different work in different ways, and not just through pay rates. Immigrants do the jobs locals don't want because locals see those jobs as being somehow beneath them. It's amazing how essential those jobs often are, though. And then a lot of jobs that society probably wouldn't miss terribly much if the people doing them vanished offer huge salaries and a lot of social status completely disproportionate to their usefulness or necessity to society.

    Couldn't agree more. And along the lines of A Day Without a Mexican, I must report than an Italian journalist tried the same experiment last year. It was edifying. Turns out amongst other things that immigrant labour contributes to the our GDP as much as tourism.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danielle,

    Does it matter?

    Not sure. It might. The solution is most likely for the government to simply up the budgets for education. But if men left it because they didn't like working with women, that won't bring them back. If they left just for the money, it might. It probably doesn't change solutions, nor the reason for them (we want better education is probably the most compelling and has nothing to do with sexual politics). But we could learn which social attitude we are really dealing with, by observing what happens there with an open mind. Is it really that education is seen as less valuable because it is supplied by women? Or is it actually because of the mentality that says men should be providers, and seek the best pay.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8009 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I guess teachers have a sense of social responsibility that stops them engaging in either collective action or aggressive individual bargaining to improve their pay.

    (Maybe the ones that do become principals, and make large amounts of extra money from personally enrolling foreign students ).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Look for Paula Bennett's version of these work schemes soon...
    Hell maybe we'll be able to make those Adidas shirts here
    a lot cheaper soon...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4182 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I guess teachers have a sense of social responsibility that stops them engaging in either collective action or aggressive individual bargaining to improve their pay.

    They do strike, you know.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8009 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    But if men left it because they didn't like working with women, that won't bring them back. If they left just for the money, it might.

    There are other factors that can make teaching unattractive to men - for example (the comments, more so than the actual post).

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Josh Addison,

    There are other factors that can make teaching unattractive to men - for example (the comments, more so than the actual post).

    I always thought it was a far bigger issue than 'Peter Ellis syndrome'. I suspect there's a strong whiff of 'whaddarya' discouraging prospective male primary teachers.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3892 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Josh Addison,

    Yes, I shouldn't have said "didn't like working with women". I should have said "Didn't like working as a man in teaching".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8009 posts Report Reply

  • NBH, in reply to BenWilson,

    I guess teachers have a sense of social responsibility that stops them engaging in either collective action or aggressive individual bargaining to improve their pay.

    They do strike, you know.

    Yeah - I know quite a few people involved in education policy who would laugh hysterically at that statement...

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Couldn’t agree more. And along the lines of A Day Without a Mexican, I must report than an Italian journalist tried the same experiment last year. It was edifying. Turns out amongst other things that immigrant labour contributes to the our GDP as much as tourism.

    A friend of mine used to have a small commercial cleaning business. The only people who'd do the work for what he could pay were immigrants and young men with marginal lifestyles. He was decent to them, but everyone was a contractor and it wasn't the sort of business that's very visible to the statisticians. The workers were also quite estranged from local news and public affairs. A nice group to have a beer with, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17917 posts Report Reply

  • Greville Whittle,

    I think the lack of male primary school teachers may also be due to the difference in perceived status between primary and secondary school teachers.

    I bet there is also the opposite mix of male to female teachers in the secondary space. I'm not sure why this is or what came first. Do more men become secondary school teachers due to the higher status and pay, or do society give it more status because there are more men in secondary teaching?

    Hamiltron • Since Oct 2008 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to Greville Whittle,

    The gender balance of the staff might vary significantly between single sex and co-ed schools. I recall mostly women staff at my single sex high school (the local convent school), and as far as I know, it was much the same at the local state girls' high school too. My eldest daughter is off to a single sex high school next year, and it seems to have a higher proportion of women on the staff.

    But I know nothing other than anecdotes here, and someone actually working in the sector will have much better knowledge about gender ratios in secondary school staff.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Men in education, eh? Well, there are paltry amounts of men in Early Childhood Education......in the AKA, there's one male head teacher (who doesn't have a family), and I think 4 teachers (who do). In 2009, there were 285 men in ECE nationally (most work in childcare centres). A lot of that, I believe, is about the Civic Creche case which scared men off teaching in general and ECE in particular. Many of them are older, most are fathers, and many come into ECE because they have had other careers, and found that they enjoy working with children. Men are actually completely suited to working with young children, and it really is wonderful to work with them. They change up the dynamic of a centre in really great ways. I don't know what the solution is to getting more men into teaching, but I really wish they would at least consider ECE as an option.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3112 posts Report Reply

  • NBH,

    For what it's worth, according to the Dept of Labour's Jobs & Tertiary Education Indicators (JTEI) tool the percentage of male teachers is 1%/ 15%/ 41% in early childhood/ primary/ secondary respectively. That's 2006 data (as it's taken from the Census) but I doubt anything would've changed noticeably in the past five years.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Sacha,

    So is law. Let's just accept that pricing of labour is not a rational market.

    What has always amazed me about the pricing of labour - particularly since the Employment Contracts Act - is that the cost of living, with emphasis on lower wage levels, was not a consideration.

    In the system of economics and in the operation of financial and capital markets the only consideration for the pricing of labour is how little it can acquired and not what in equity and good conscience should be paid. When I studied economics and financial markets I kept waiting to see it but never did.

    The prevalent manner with which management of economies has developed is that the emphasis is not on providing goods and services for the people/populace – but rather a pooling of the people into a tax/revenue base to be plundered at will by government and corporate bureaucracies.

    The bail out for the GFC and the severe failure of economies is quite astounding

    Equity in employment realtions is a sore joke.

    We have a corporate in Infratil in receipt of millions of public transport subsidies and getting access to the NZ Fund and buying up Shell stations – deny a small group of workers who formed an independent union, initially 40 employees, have been trying to negotiation a collective since 2007. Short version an agreement reached in 2009 was not honoured and then a further agreement reached in 2010 and was again not honoured. These people have had no wage increase since 2007 and very few rights at law to force the issue.

    Infratil would be sorely pissed if for four years it didn’t receive, through NZ Bus, increases in it’s Public Transport subsidy and has no qualms about mucking about workers so they go without.

    Working people in essence have very few rights upon which they can rely – there is a code of good faith – but this is rather subjective and the objects of the act which include, ‘to address the inherent inequalities in employment relationships” is at times not worth much.

    To protect Labour their needs to be basic rights _ I've mentioned them before – which 9 years of Labour didn’t give people and the Nats are not making the situation any better.

    Is this Key Govt - Jenny Shipley with better technology?

    If you are a bureaucrat, an upper echelon civil servant, a banker, a corporate that has wangled through privatisation a funding stream in the form of a public subsidy, an MP with a safe seat, a member of the Nat Govt which only wants to win the next election, the future is brilliant.

    "Is that it?" - No it gets worse - just wait and see.

    As Homer Simpson said, "Working is for chumps."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to DexterX,

    I must correct myslef it was Bart - it goes like this:

    Bart :"I am through with working. Working is for chumps."
    Homer :"Son, I'm proud of you. I was twice your age before I figured that out."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    Right, but that goes to demand for your services. The higher they can sell your services/products, the higher your demand is. What would lower it would be many other people willing and capable of doing the same job as you. It doesn’t matter how clear the connection is. There’s an easily measured value of the toilet cleaner to the contracting company too. But there’s millions of people who can clean a toilet in this country.

    Yuh-huh, I think we're arguing past each other. My question is (I think, but I'm starting to confuse myself), is this the best measure of the "worth" of a job that we can come up with? There's a good argument that if money is the end goal of labour, then the thing which most efficiently arranges the transfer of money (which, I'll concede, is what free markets are good at) is probably the best we can do. But money is just the mechanism we have to transform our labour into life, then the question is more complicated. I'd be just as happy breaking the correlation between money and the things that make up a life as that between the scarcity of labour and money; it's just that the former is so deeply ingrained in our culture (and a very successful culture it is, by any material measure) that I'm not sure if it's possible to do anything about it.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to James Butler,

    I'm not even sure if we're arguing at all. I was just saying how market models set price. I don't think it's the best way to organize things.

    I actually think nearly everything about capitalist organization is bad. It predicates itself around the value of work, when in fact work is not in itself good. Only the outcomes of the work are, like the production of products. If a machine could do everything that the people in a factory do, then it probably should. The question is then about how the people who did work there can survive. From a social perspective, the creation of a machine should be fantastic, because it removed the need for dehumanized labour. But what ends up happening is that the machine is used to make the humans redundant, and having been made redundant, they have no means to survive, while at the same time, the owner of the machine gets richer than he ever could have before. So the end result is that he worked some people hard, profited from them, then replaced them and cast them out, like an old machine.

    It's madness that such growth should be so harmful to the bulk of the people responsible for making the growth happen.

    I don't really know the solution, at least not coming from where we are now. Essentially, it boils down to ownership of the means of production, just as Marx said. If the workers owned the factory, then their redundancy in favor of a machine that could continue to deliver them profits without requiring them to work in the factory, would be all good. But this collectivized ownership model has never really risen to high levels of popularity, so far as industry is concerned. I think this is because ownership of capital is simply one of those things that tends always towards concentration, when left to its own devices. That's why the power structures of the ancient world were almost always absolute monarchies. Power concentrates, and eventually turns into a strict hierarchy. Capital is power, and does exactly the same thing. The top is seldom stable, because the powerful are surrounded by other powerful people snapping at their heels, but the bottom stays pretty stable, unless it gets seriously out of whack, and actual revolt is caused, beyond the power of leadership to rapidly suppress.

    My favored solution is to legislate good capital management onto everyone. To quite literally force people to invest wisely in their own futures. If we did this, I think that class differences would very quickly start to melt, because the actual ownership of production would very rapidly push its way towards the workers.

    It's still a capitalist model, but it's taking social reform from a whole different angle, to raise the bottom rather than pull down the top. I don't object to the existence of very rich people. What I object to is very poor people, who have to work like slaves to get fuck all.

    How is it different to simply taxing and having welfare? Well, for starters, it's planning for a much longer term. It stops such planning from being a political football, subject to the whims of whatever crazed government we have. Right now, National could sell off all of our hydroelectricity. I highly doubt, given that we're supposedly sitting with our backs against the wall of bankruptcy, that we will get a good price for these assets that we spent decades paying off. If we actually already owned these assets as actual shareholders, then it would be impossible for the government to do this.

    If the Nats had a shred of decency about this, they might realize that since the debt problem they claim to be trying to solve is a private one anyway, and since the taxpayers of NZ purchased these dams over many years already, then if they must privatize them, they should do that by issuing equal shares in these dams to every taxpayer. Then we could sell them off as we saw fit, to pay off the debts we have, or we could keep them, make money out of them, and since we have to buy the power from them, would demand efficiency from them too, as shareholders, with the actual power to hire and fire the management.

    But my point about forcing good money management would actually take this further and deny NZers the right to sell their shares, unless they took out shares in something else in NZ with the same money. So the only money they could draw from the shares would be dividends, and even then, they'd be required to reinvest some fraction of these.

    They should also be forced to save money. Actual cash. This should be for retirement, but I think that destitution would also be a good excuse to access it, and should be allowed. It just shouldn't be easy. We should make it harder for people to fuck up their lives economically. In the end, it should be totally impossible, and the entire country would be like trust fund kids, doing nothing but what pleases them, which, on the whole, does seem to turn out to be what they are actually good at. It should be institutionalized to the point that no powerful person or interests could do a damned thing to stop it, and they would hopefully start to see why they shouldn't.

    There would still be crappy work to do. But people would only do it for good pay. Really good pay. And the good work, the work that makes us human, would be a reward in and of itself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8009 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    I was just saying how market models set price.

    I reckon you are arguing the purest theoretical form - which unfortunately like most of what economists say does not actually match the real world.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15705 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    I'll give you that. Pricing complex things like employees is notoriously subjective.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8009 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    they should do that by issuing equal shares in these dams to every taxpayer. Then we could sell them off as we saw fit, to pay off the debts we have, or we could keep them, make money out of them,

    But first check, will your grandchildren also be issued shares? Surely it would be more egalitarian to not issue shares and instead use this profit(?) to subsidize the cost of electricity. Not that I disagree with the thrust of your ideology here Ben. But a sentence like

    "They should also be forced to save money."

    doesn't seem so far adrift from the ideology that national proposes in these welfare reforms. To my way of thinking, sound governance need not involve telling people what to do with their money as much as creating an environment in which it's harder not to save money.
    Although I strongly agree on your insistence on taking back what is yours Ben, New Zealand First's pledge to de-float the NZ dollar is an obvious first step in reclaiming economic control, and in turn providing a platform for a better quality of life.

    As for these proposed welfare reforms, my impression is that they sound horrendous. Certainly they would discourage me from seeking welfare. I think in this day and age there are viable alternatives in the form of online work with minimal training. Encouraging people to seek out those alternatives doesn't seem such a bad step for the national economy in terms of bringing money into the country. But these proposals are not decent

    Global employment opportunities are growing by the day. But as the attractiveness of these opportunities is reliant on a healthy exchange rate and by proxy an attractive CPI rating, both of which are currently more or less beyond the Government's grip. the untethered waka is as yet no tūrangawaewae.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1293 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to BenWilson,

    My favored solution is to legislate good capital management onto everyone. To quite literally force people to invest wisely in their own futures.

    This sits nicely alongside what the Nats are looking to do with the food stamp card.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to DexterX,

    This sits nicely alongside what the Nats are looking to do with the food stamp card.

    Yes, plus: what could possibly go wrong!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Things to consider - if you are talking about wages and inflation - are that in addition to using interestes rate to feebly attempt to control inflation (and exchange rates) - the cost of labour - wages - is an essential part in regulating inflation .

    This aspect translates to the operation of Labour markets (in NZ) are vital in ensuring that wages (for the majority) don't keep pace with increases in living costs. The inequality in employment relation ships is vital to controlling inflation.

    Socially this aspect is dealt with by WFF where workers with out families fund tax refunds to workers with families to help them. It should be called working for other people's families.

    IMHO all recessions become a recession in wages.

    The food stamp card is a further nonsense and has quite dire wider social implications in regard to removing people's freedom and civil liberties. It is a beat up for election.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

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