Saturday, April 30, 2011

NZ Government is Anti-Resilience

I don't believe the government has any intention of taking steps to build resilience or even to take steps to create the conditions for communities to create resilience for themselves. I believe the government are actively hostile to the concept of community resilience. I believe a government of the left would equally be hostile to community resilience but they would use bureaucratic rather than economic means to undermine resilience. It is the nature of all politicians to seek to create  dependence amongst those they govern / claim to represent, but this particular government are pursuing a particularly vicious course.

Most countries in the "free" world are suffering to a greater or lesser degree from Sovereign Debt Crisis. In most parts of the world this has been caused by bank bale-outs following the collapse in credit (electronic money) supply as the value of the securities that it was backed by have plunged. The governments have been using many devices to shore up the banks but the end result is the same. The private debt of the banks has become the public debt of the Sovereign Nations.

New Zealand doesn't need to be running up a massive sovereign debt. We only had to bale out a few dodgy finance companies, the bill was less than $4 billion (thats still $1000 for every Kiwi adult and child alive. but small beer compared to the US, for example). In fact we didn't have to bale them out at all. Our government chose to extend the "bank credit guarantee scheme" to these small finance companies in order to show "good faith" to the larger institutions. In my view the gamblers that put their life savings into these institutions that were offering high interest rates and thus were obviously high risk should have been allowed to lose all. But thats another story.

No, In New Zealand the government is choosing keep in step with the US, UK etc, creating sovereign debt by running the economy with spending levels at the OECD average but revenue levels lower than OECD levels. Why the hell would they want to do that!

As is the way with ruling elites, they always manage to find a way to pluck an advantage from other peoples misery. Fortunes have been made in dire times of war. During the depression of the 1930's the banks ended up owning vast tracts of land across the US midwest and so-on. The advantage that the ruling elites seek most in the present crisis is resource capture.

Globalised business knows that in the near future, as a result of peak oil and other resource depletion, it is going to become very difficult to make money by the more traditional business activities like producing goods and services to sell at a profit. This is because de-globalisation ( it is coming whether we seek it or not due to infrastructure failure) is going to cause business to be done on a local scale that does not fit the global corporate model. Their answer is to maintain profit and control by what economists call rent seeking. This means that they control resources such as land,water, minerals, intellectual property and so-on and charge money for access to them. This means they get paid regardless of how profitable or not the human activity requiring these resources is. Masterplan!

The problem is that a lot of these resources are in the public domain as they have traditionally seen as being too important to be controlled by private interests. This does not sit well with the rent seeking elites.
In other parts of the world, bank baleouts and the resulting sovereign debt crisis have resulted in conditions where sovereign governments will have to sell off public assets just to balance the books. Here in New Zealand, that precondition is not present so the debt crisis is being manufactured.

This all sits very cleverly with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, presently being negotiated in secret, which aims to secure a situation such that when these assets are privatised, a future sovereign government of a signatory country will be unable to re-nationalise the assets without paying punitive compensation to the usurpers.


  1. Hey Kevin!
    "In New Zealand the government is choosing keep in step with the US, UK etc,"

    This is the edge of empire, under a govt of occupation...

    The govt sits under the power of corporations, then banksters, then the elites. Of course NZ would follow in lock-step with the heart of empire! Under present conditions of globalisation, welcome to what I call the Golden Curtain. The corporations have us locked down behind it, telling us to shut up and shop, as they farm us...

    We need a culture of resistance, but it's going to be tough going under conditions of occupation everywhere...

  2. I'm confused. So, despite the end of the world being just around the corner, we're supposed to care about political integrity?! But there won't be any governments left, silly! What kind of desperate-to-copy-Cassandra-like oracle ARE you?!

  3. Get a life Hephaetus! If you have something to say please be constructive. It's just sooo easy to slag people off. I bet it makes you feel important!

  4. Sure thing - just as soon as soon as the fear mongering pseudo-intellectuals find other things to occupy their time. Like, erm, you know, reading up on economics (that necessarily includes: why economists, mathematicians and other specialists that actually studied at university and graduated know more about markets and "the collapse of society" than outspoken and IQ deficient internet bloggers). We're all going to die! - but I won't do anything constructive. I'll just blog about it. Yeah. Loads'o'blogging. That'll show the corporate elites!

  5. @Fiunary, Hephaestus has posted antagonistic comment on this blog before and I have chosen to ignore him, but not to take down his comments. For the time-being, I feel it serves my purpose best to leave those comments in place for others to analyse or ignore as they see fit. However, I would ask you with all due respect not to encourage a slanging match with Hephaestus, as you then become a proxy for all the timewasting unpleasantness that he would like to engage me in. In short, "do not feed the trolls".
    Understand that the reason I blog is not to try to convert "non-believers" to my thinking. For a small-fry like me to believe such a thing would be mere vanity. It is, in the first instant, as an aid to my own cognitive process, that is to say it helps me to assemble the jumble of loosely connected thoughts that pass through my mind into something more coherent. In passing, I hope that people that maybe have a gut-feeling that something is wrong with the direction that society is heading in and read my blog will find it helps them to see with more clarity.

  6. @ Hephaestus, you may have noticed that my "blogging rate" is somewhat less than twice a month. This is, because I do, in fact, have something better to do with my time. I actually am a farmer, believe it or not, and I have spent the last six years setting up my farm so that, in the event of an unusually severe economic catastrophe, I will be able to carry on farming, albeit at a somewhat reduced level of output, but nevertheless sufficient to feed my family and my immediate neighbours, who, despite their present faith in the "business as usual" scenario, I would rather have on my side than in conflict with me. So much for your "I won't do anything constructive" jibe.
    Your faith in "educated professionals" I find alarmingly naive. One of the outcomes of the demise of "public good" research activity is that the most successful and prominent intellectuals are, of necessity, bought and paid for by corporate interests. "He who pays the piper calls the tune".
    You like to rail against "pseudo-intellectuals" and "IQ deficient internet bloggers", yet you erroniously attempt to invoke the argument of Occam's Razor (which, is only an conjecture in the first place, rather than an immutable law) In circumstances where it is meaningless to do so. Where are the two competing hypotheses? Where is the equivalence of factual evidence when your world-view totally ignores the "elephant in the room" fact of the conflict between depleting resource base and an economic model that only works in "growth mode"? Who is to say which one is the simpler argument? The fact that you always fall back on the argument that "educated intellectuals know best" when my viewpoint seems utterly unsophisticated- a mere farmers common sense. Even if Occams Razor were relevent, the balance of judgement would fall on my side.
    Next you attempt to invoke the metaphor of Cassandra. So are you saying that, like Cassandra, I am blessed with the gift of true foresight? I think not, you are saying my vision of the future is nonsense, so the metaphor does not exist. Are you saying like Cassandra, I'm doomed never to be believed? Never? By anyone? as I said above, I didn't come here to evangelise, but the fact is that a significant but growing minority see the world as I see it.

  7. Argh! - don't subject me to the unrelenting glare of your towering intellect! It burns!

    See, Kev, we don't mean any harm. We just find it ironic that there's this growing cult of 'doomers' using the culmination of thousands of years of technological evolution, the computer, to preach messages that haven't changed much since the dawn of language itself. Namely, AHHHH! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE, AND I KNOW BEST! DON'T BELIEVE THE SHEEPLE!

    Anthropologically, it's interesting that crap like this keeps popping up. We discovered these hilarious niche blogs a year or so ago, and we've been following this trend ever since. The reason I mention the whole academic thing is because almost no one that goes in for this Nostradamus stuff has actually studied the field they claim to be an expert in. No professors, no particularly accomplished economists or mathematicians, just university drop-outs and people that couldn't make it in to begin with. Not to say that geting edukated is impoortent or anyfing but when an entire group shows signs of making the same mistakes over and over again, like this whole scaremongering thing you've got going at the moment, then it becomes pretty telling, eh.

    Even more interestingly, most of these people are falling into the same pattern of blinkered self-preservation, that is, instead of taking ANY KIND of political action (protesting, petitioning, you know, trying to influence anything within the political sphere), they just set up farms or look out for their own with no consideration for anyone else.

    And hey, that's just swell; all of us here appreciate your offer of salvation after the great calamity, but if it involves living in an aftermath with guys like you, we'll just sit it out cheers.

    Glad to see you looked up old Occam on Wikipedia. That's what the internet was built for - eh?

  8. Try Joseph Tainter. I hope he's academic enough for you! For a short paper try Complexity, Problem Solving and Sustainable Societies. If you can summon the concentration required to read a book, try The Collapse of Complex Societies. Note that it is published by Cambridge University Press- I trust that institution carries sufficient gravitas for one who demands such a high level of credibility from his intellectual peers ;-)

  9. It seems to me, as our civilisation navigates it's way down the curve of readily available, economically justifiable extraction of concentrated energy in the form of fossil fuel, that the reach of government and all other entities must also decline.

    Very hard to project force over distance without consuming a lot of energy.

  10. Absolutely, devolution of power to the lowest possible level. But we'll have to fight for it. Already see how local government rates demands make absolutely no reference to affordability. They will demand their 7% per annum increase regardless of the fact that real per hour wages are falling. their sense of entitlement and immunity from the conditions of the real world is staggering. (Actually, no it's just what you'd expect- but it doesn't make for good rhetoric!)