Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Lady luck smiles more than we think

18 Responses

  • Hugh Wilson,

    I read Liam Dann's piece this morning and thought it was a pretty honest assessment of the situation - I for one know many people who 'got in' just before AKL prices really started moving, and some of them happened to moved back from OZ when they were getting 1.30:1 on the exchange rate (an extraordinary gain).

    Australia's PM is quite fond of the 'luck' narrative, clearly as a means to connect to the man on the street and encourage people to 'have a go' as clichéd as it is (for all his well known wealth, he effectively grow up in a single parent state house, similar to that other bloke John).

    The 'there but for the grace of god' line makes me think of Machine's disco smash, as thats where I first heard the line:

    Melbourne • Since Feb 2013 • 166 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    good helpings of dumb, blind luck.

    can come over my way now… pretty please…
    I aint got the “accident of birth”, workin’ for me.
    But dont ask me to put on those ridiculously lensed specs.
    I prefers me beersie goggles

    HA nearly wrote google then
    Dont matter anyhow… these would-be attendees to any 80’s “prosperity seminar”
    as well as being short sighted and greedy and lucking fucky
    will never admit to being wrong
    Well, not while it could make a difference
    worth pointing out tho’ again and again and again and again…
    might sink in one day ; ))

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1888 posts Report Reply

  • llew40,

    Nice piece Rob

    With regards to housing, like Liam Dann, I'm one of the lucky ones. We bought a house in Mt Albert 12 years ago, and have subsequently seen it more than triple in value in that time. While we've not gone out and used the equity in our house to invest in more houses, I'd be lying if I said I hadn't seriously thought about it.

    A challenge is, in terms of attaining a financial position that would enable us to offer our kids a better chance of being able to get their own foothold in the Auckland property market, there isn't too many other options in terms of wealth creation than property investment. Or at least options that keep pace with the value of property. Its a vicious circle.

    Do I blame those who have decided to invest in property? - to be honest, no, and the urge of some to call these people names such as 'generation rentier' doesn't help the debate one iota.

    Do I think Auckland needs more intensification?, hell yes (and those who oppose it for self-interested reasons probably do deserve to be called names).

    Do I think property needs to be properly taxed? hell, yes (although given most MPs seem to be property investors themselves it might be hard to change those tax laws).

    Could a more civil society be founded on a greater self-awareness of the role that luck or circumstance has played in our lives? No doubt.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to llew40,

    Heh. I was born white, and male, into a family that both valued education and was well equipped to deal with my personal oddities. For the most part (family history of what I suspect is now Aspergers, at the time was hyperactivity, and before that was PITA). Oh, and family who could and would support me when I needed it, even if that was very much on their terms.

    Better than my partner's situation, helping her mother out financially since she started uni. And various other things. Lots of time and money.

    Do I blame those who have decided to invest in property? ... Do I think property needs to be properly taxed

    That's pretty much where I am. I still recall two die-hard members of (one of) our local socialist groups actually apologising to me when I delivered their groceries a few years ago... they'd bought a house. How bourgeoisie.

    The choice faced by a lot of people is between jumping on the subsidised bandwagon or poverty. I don't blame anyone who looks at that and says "BANDWAGON!". That's a choice I've made more than a few times myself, for the same reason. I choose not to choose poverty. Buying a house? A secoind house? Putting money into subsidised superannuation? Tick. Tickticktick.

    But I also pay tax (how very... retro, I know), and I think everyone should. Woz did a recent interview where he said the same, which I found interesting.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1223 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to llew40,

    enable us to offer our kids a better chance of being able to get their own foothold in the Auckland property market

    Your assuming thats what they want. Or do you know for sure?
    There are other ways to consider future generations you know

    most MPs seem to be property investors themselves

    As well as arseholes?
    Anyway I just came back to add music C ya

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1888 posts Report Reply

  • llew40,

    Your assuming thats what they want. Or do you know for sure?
    There are other ways to consider future generations you know

    Good point. If they are anything like their parents they may well decide that roaming and living elsewhere is perfectly fine. And all strength to them. I guess I feel compelled to consider their future by trying to preserve their options :)

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    In the disability world luck and love definitely play a part. For a disabled person life will be a lot easier if you are lucky to have the love of someone eg a mother, to advocate for you. You will be lucky to find good services and supports when you need them. A lucky family will have the contacts and resources to get the help they need. Without luck everything is much bleaker. It is not a good basis for public policy.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    "Shit just happens" is a kind of disempowering philosophy, even if it's fundamentally true a lot of the time. I can kind of get why people reject a luck hypothesis in favour of one in which their actions or inactions play a starring role. It's one of those quirks of human nature that's essential to our understanding, and misunderstanding, of the universe.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    @B Jones: Yes! Even people who have bad luck often don't want to acknowledge the huge part it plays - because that disempowers them, makes them feel they can't fix it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10647 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Especially people who have bad luck. It's much easier to deal with a cause that can be avoided than just having pulled the short straw, especially when short straw distribution is uneven. Having some sort of narrative directing things is much easier to process than a whole bunch of things happened that probably aren't related.

    I wonder what the relationship between privilege and belief in conspiracies is - whether people who have experienced more than their fair share of bad or good luck (whatever that is) are more likely to believe in narratives that don't have a lot of evidence behind them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    In the disability world luck and love definitely play a part. For a disabled person life will be a lot easier if you are lucky to have the love of someone eg a mother, to advocate for you.

    Personality and appearance certainly counts, for good or ill. A certain agency dealing with the intellectually disabled once ran a practice of placing what were cynically referred to as "model mentals" in token positions in their offices, so that Lord and Lady Bountiful might come away from their visit enthusing about what they were able to achieve with them.

    On a visit to what was then the Auckland Sheltered Workshop a couple of worthies from said agency spotted an engaging little blue-eyed blonde chatterbox as having the right kind of potential. Their proposal was tactfully withdrawn after she insisted on bringing her six foot female friend, whose unfortunate tendency to sprout chin whiskers and inform everyone she met of her ambition to march in the dawn parade effectively disqualified her from dealing with an unprepared public.

    "It's luck or loveliness, not who you are or what you do
    That makles the world go round...."

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    I liked Liam Dann's piece as well. Nail on head, really. As long as there are enough of us with a stake in the status quo (which rewards us personally and fails the country at large), and no vision beyond it, then our poll-driven politicians aren't going to change much. I'd like to be wrong on this, but the last few years haven't encouraged much hope.

    As for luck, it's almost a cliché of property journalism (hey, is there any other kind?) now: profile of property-owner who tells us they worked hard, and every single one of these pieces has the giveaway buried in paragraph 8 or 9 "with help from parents", "he used his inheritance" or similar. Everyone tries to move up, but not everyone is allowed on the escalator.

    Disclaimer: I'm a homeowner, now mortgage-free, and the taxpayer paid for my education and more. Worked hard? Not as much as the mother in South Auckland with two jobs, three kids and a rental. But then, I didn't have to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1326 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    A lucky family will have the contacts and resources to get the help they need.

    I'd call that fortunately wealthy and with strong social capital, rather than lucky. Lucky is striking the right agency or case manager or policy change for your needs at the right time.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19699 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Lazy thinking about their own life can lead people to embrace lemon-mouthed arguments that rich people are rich because they deserve it and for no other reason; sharing the fruits of success is immoral and should be stamped out; people who aren’t successful must therefore be lazy; and so on.

    What you basically describe is a sub-branch of cherry picking known as 'survivorship bias'. It's a major driver of 'inspiration porn' which gets on my nerves, and if you haven't already read it, the late great Stella Young deconstructed it better than I ever could.

    I'd call that fortunately wealthy and with strong social capital, rather than lucky. Lucky is striking the right agency or case manager or policy change for your needs at the right time.

    I'm lucky enough to come from middle-class affluence, but I'm equally unlucky enough for my folks to misdiagnose my DSM-5-grade condition which took them 30 years to finally understand. Right now I find myself on the bottom rung of the job ladder with all the rungs in the middle missing, and I'm running out of ideas to career-change before the IOT eats my job.

    Now they're retired, they're not in much of a position to put things right, with the exception of alleviating my living costs from time to time.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5428 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to llew40,

    Do I blame those who have decided to invest in property? - to be honest, no, and the urge of some to call these people names such as 'generation rentier' doesn't help the debate one iota.

    Do I think Auckland needs more intensification?, hell yes (and those who oppose it for self-interested reasons probably do deserve to be called names).

    'Generation Rentier' is still a more laser-guided term than 'boomers', and the title has been justifiably earned by those who think they're free marketeers who suddenly become born-again statists when they sense any whiff of creative disruption to their rentier gains. Also, Martin Shkreli goes to show that rentierism isn't exclusively a boomer thing.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5428 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Urquhart,

    As another who is only in the comfortable position I am due to positive fortune, I like to take as one of my guiding principles a slight modification of another well-know saying: “Be the luck you want to see in the world”.

    Life is absolutely not “fair”, the very concept is a personification, but it is within our power to make living more so.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

    I always liked Michael Lewis' Princeton speech where he makes the same point.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • JessicaRose,

    Kind of a tangent on the topic, go to about 26mins through, and you see how people have no trouble copying and improving other peoples ideas. But get VERY upset with people copying theirs, or ideas they come to think of as their own.
    And how detrimental this is to society as a whole.
    So building on the idea of how we see ourselves (erroneously) and then how we view others.

    And music. This link relates because music.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coGpmA4saEk

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 56 posts Report Reply

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