Friday, December 17, 2010

Adversarial Politics & Phil Goff (NZ)

Adversarial politics seems to be the only politics Phil Goff knows.

Whatever National does, count on Phil Goff to criticise it and find fault.

Phil appears to have only one style, and that's the old politics of win or lose.

But a good leader demonstrates constructive, collaborative behaviour. That's the way we want to be led and the way we want to be treated.

The continuous sniping is the old politics, the tired politics, the foolish and stupid politics of no good purpose, played as a game for winners and losers.

We're past that now, why isn't Goff?

I've been a Labour supporter, but Key, and many of his cabinet (not all), are the better leaders now.

I only post this because I want Labour to do something constructive.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileaks Diplomatic Cables Leak

Wikileak's cables leak puts the state of affairs in a better light than the media does. Perhaps the establishment shouldn't find releasing the truth so scary.

But then again, we can probably always rely on the media to distort whatever they say (jazz it up, sensationalise it, speculate on it, etc).


Saturday, November 27, 2010

You've Got To be Kidding!

Australia's Kevin Rudd was at least partly kicked out of government because of Australia's slavish kowtowing to the United States, so why an Earth is this still going on?

Not to mention Obama, who was most definitely voted in by a vast margin because of Bush's total delinquency on foreign policy. And yet the US Pentagon is still acting like it should be protecting that legacy rather than reneging it: we all know Bush was a prick, and that Obama is meant to be genuine, upfront and supporting the truth. So why the hell is he (via the Pentagon) protecting Bush?

That the US and Bush were backstabbing its allies… What a surprise!!! The neo-conservatives were only about America. No-one should be surprised that the documents prove that. There were plenty of public documents at the time that ascribed Cheney and other Bush cronies to exactly these policies.

The awful shock, if any, is that the Pentagon under Obama is just as secretive and just as defensive as it was under Bush. Either Obama hasn't got a grip on changing the culture of the departments of Homeland Security, et cetera, et cetera (and it has only been a short time) or he's just a sap.

And the same can be said of Australia's 'new' government. What's changed?

Power corrupts – that rule never seems to change. God damn it.

Australia slams 'reckless' WikiLeaks over US cables

US warns of likely harm from WikiLeaks release


Friday, November 26, 2010

David Miliband Makes A Blunder On Leadership

"So you're saying to the country, 'show me where to lead and I'll follow'; you're not saying, 'I'm going to be your next Prime Minister and I will lead you'; you're saying, 'tell me where to go...'?"

Such an invitation to get it right. But he doesn't. So close. But he fails. Like every leader (virtually). He fails. The interviewer is right. Ask the people. Listen to the people on the topics they are interested in – they will show you the direction: the data, the information and the knowledge, will show you the answer.

C'mon Miliband, you can do better than this. It's by listening to the people, by studying the problems, by getting feedback on the solutions from those whom the issues affect that you will find the answers. There is no other way to a correct solution. Don't take the 'strong-man' road of being the 'strong leader' and not admitting that you have to ask people what they want – that's just stupid.

I think you've just made mistake in hearing what was being asked. I think you know better. Tell us you do.

[BBC Radio 4 Interview with David Miliband – 'Who are Miliband's 'squeezed middle'?' -]


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Joint Drug-Taking & Social Bonding

Joint drug-taking is a form of social bonding, but can quickly become a requirement of social bonding.

If we are to remove the requirement of drug-taking in social bonding, whether it be alcohol in pubs, parties, ad infinitum, or other forms of drugs, then we need to show that these social occasions can occur as well as they should without the drug. This can be fostered with the knowledge that all of our social bonding before the age of eleven was without drugs.

But can we really do that? Can we, any more, socialise without alcohol?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Alcohol Recruitment

Alcohol companies deliberately recruit young people into drinking their product – that's what they do, as Bacardi CEO Seamus McBride specifically attests to on BBC's The Bottom Line (02 Nov 2010):

"My first thought is, 'who are going to be the target group to recruit the new generation of drinkers for our global brands?' We generally focus on legal drinking ages (because that changes by country), and then, 'how are we going to introduce 23, 24, 25, 30-year olds to our spirit brands?' Now they consume media, communication very differently to when we were younger…, so we need people who are open to, expert at, both inside and outside the company, on digital work, social networks, on events, on sponsorship, on celebrity, and that kind of thing."

"We focus on, let's say, 25 to 30 year olds because that's the age when boys become men, girls become women, and they develop their preferences."

"One of the things we want to do is revitalise the rum market. So we try to attract 25 to 30 year olds into the rum market through the brand Bacardi. So we will portray people in our advertising people who are 25 to 30 because they will recognise themselves in that."

"We have 25 year olds, we have 30 year olds in our businesses around the world because those people understand the trend, they understand what 25 year olds think."

What chance do youth have against this?

Liquor companies will never voluntarily inform on the harm their product does.

But the information provided on what a product does needs to reflect the whole balance of what that product does, not just the fun part. Alcohol companies in the current capitalist ethos will not work to provide this. We need a system that's ethos isn't just the pursuit of money regardless of harm, but the pursuit of fulfilment (for all) without harm (to any).

(The Bottom Line, 02 Nov 2010 -


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WINZ Doesn't Provide Support, It Provides Coercion

That's why people try to get on the sickness benefit, to get some protection from WINZ.

I doubt there is a single person who has ever been forced to apply for a benefit that has ever had any trust in WINZ.

If WINZ really provided support they wouldn't confine themselves to the strict mantra of availability for only full-time work, and they would consider work outside of the confines of just employee jobs. They would tailor their assistance to people, not force people into their policy peg holes which don't fit anyone.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WINZ – Trying To Find A Way Not To Help

They're trying to find a way, trying to find a reason, not to give you assistance.

WINZ (Work & Income New Zealand) can't decide if it wants to help people and be flexible to individual circumstances or to rebuff people and stick to narrow benefit definitions that don't fit individuals. Actually it can decide, and the decision has been made, despite any niceties the system isn't human, it's mechanical, and so it doesn't work for people.


The Big Society

Our government is part of our society, it's our answer to how to provide many essential services. If we're going to move essential service provision outside of the domain of government (into the 'Big Society') we need to ensure people have the basic income they need to contribute these services.

A base income is a lot less than we pay officials, but it has to exist, people can't live and contribute on nothing, there can't be a Big Society in which we share our contributions and ideas if incomes aren't shared.


WINZ – The Job We Choose For You

'The job we choose for you is better than any work you could choose' is wrong. It's wrong in New Zealand, wrong in the UK and wrong in the States. But this is the latest mantra of their benefit systems.

Immense talent is wasted by jobs that don't realise our potential, all this when a base income would enable everyone to make their best contribution. With time, some of these contributions would generate enormous incomes which can be shared to sustain an ever greater base income.

[The Guardian, Unemployed told: do four weeks of unpaid work or lose your benefits -]


WINZ - Forcing People Into Unsuitable Jobs Is Bad Social Policy

But this is what Paula Bennett's trying to do.

Any new applicant for the unemployment benefit (there's a name they could change for a start, how about income assistance?) has to attend a seminar where they are shown a video of how to apply for a job. This is regardless of your background - whether you were previously a professor, brick layer, student, journalist or scientist, you have to attend this seminar and watch the video. Then you are asked to fill in a form detailing all manner of your previous experience, regardless of whether you have a CV that already shows this.

Then you must speak individually to a WINZ representative who quizzes you on your circumstances. The interviewer amazes at your personal situation, is uncomprehending of what jointly raising a child means for separate parents, and continuously tells you to be flexible in your job choice while showing no clue to the references in their own literature of 'suitable' work or that different people have 'different circumstances'.

Following this you must attend everyday for the next five days an appointment in the WINZ office with a representative who tries to convince you to be flexible in your job choice. Can you imagine the effect of this on people's self concept? On their ability to even look for suitable work while this goes on?

All this takes place before you are even considered able to apply for the benefit. If they recommend you a job during this process you must take it or forfeit any entitlement to assistance.

What will this mean for human beings trying to build careers and productive lives which realise their abilities? What will screwing people into jobs in which they just don’t fit mean for these people? What will happen to the people who don't want to be screwed and fall out of the benefit system altogether?

This is Paula Bennett's new plan to get people into paid work. It will be a quick fix on the numbers in the short run (certainly less on the benefit), but it's going to screw up a lot of people, and the longer this goes on the more it's going to cost us.

This is not the way to help people work or make any form of meaningful contribution. But help isn't what Paula Bennett has in mind. She's short-sighted. Her system isn't designed to help people contribute their best, it's designed to crush people and make them conform to whatever employers need them for. But this method will cost all of us and we'll lose the unique contribution of people who could give more if they were enabled to.

[Post Script – The experience of WINZ, as with many organisations, depends on the WINZ rep you get. A good rep tries to rise above 'the rules' to try and understand the individual and help you (probably to be knocked down by the supervisor), but a bad rep sticks to 'the rules' and is uncomprehending. The question is, 'are the rules or the rep empowered to deliver the service?' If it's the rules, as I fear it is, then people aren't going to be treated as people, and diversity is going to be punished.]


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Aussie History Myopia

Why didn't Sean Plunket (NZ journalist) challenge John Howard (former Australian Prime Minister)'s depiction of Australian history as "Western" and "English-speaking" with the fact that, actually, Australia's history is Aboriginal and Aborigine-speaking? For the last two hundred years Australia has been primarily Western and English-speaking, prior to that, and for fifty-thousand years, it has been Aboriginal. Isn't that something Australia, John Howard, and any Western journalist of any standing should make pains to point out? Why don't they do so?

"You don't get respect in Asia by denying your past" - John Howard (in the same interview). Well by this comment John, you've just proven yourself a complete hypocrite, because denying Australia's past is precisely what you have done.

[This comment relates to an interview by Sean Plunket with former Australian Prime Minister John Howard on 'The Nation' - (the interview is online, but unfortunately you'll have to watch the whole programme to see it)]


Monday, October 25, 2010

Armed & Dangerous

In the US, criminals have better weapons than police. Is that what we want in New Zealand? An escalation of arms ownership between hard-pressed law enforcers and desperate law breakers?

Why aren't we tackling arms ownership and removing weapons? Arming the constabulary doesn't solve the issue of crime, instead it escalates the violence.

We need to reverse the spiral, remove the arms so they can't be used, and establish social policies that leverage people out of desperate circumstances.

Arming law enforcers and removing benefits leads to more people armed and desperate. This is dangerous for everyone.

The US is not the model to follow on crime prevention.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Economic Models & Reality

We don't understand economic models. Economic models don't understand reality.

'Economic models, all other things remaining the same, depict reality' ADD 'All other things never remain the same' EQUALS 'Economic models never depict reality'

If economic models contained places for all possible variables they would be a reality, but still not our one.

Economic models used as prediction tools don't work unless there are no serious shocks, but then 'what's the point?'

If only one could be an economist without talking about mathematical models, but that isn't possible any more, not via the academic route.

[Related Post – Paul Krugman: Macro Economic Madness -]


Bolger Recants

Bolger (former NZ Prime Minister) recants the sale of Telecom. Wow. Personally, I've never got over the way the then recently-privatised Telecom ripped out or painted over every red phone box in the country, so they could have their new yellow corporate branding on them, despite loud protest and public vexation.

It shocked me and continues to shock me that, in a democracy, a government or monopolistic essential-service provider can act completely undemocratically to rip the heart out of a community, to make changes nobody wants and nobody's asked for, to act without care for the community that, through its votes or its purchases, has put the government or the company in its position of power – but this happens all the time.

Representative's (some democratically elected, some not) make changes they think are good for us, even ones that rip out our heritage, dissolve our security, and destroy our familiarity, because they think this is best for us, even though we say isn't at the time, find it isn't when it happens, and regret it once it has.

Real democracy is coming, but it isn't here yet.

Bolger: Telecom Sale A Mistake -


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Labour Market Specialists Win 2010 Nobel Economics Prize

Still not the whole picture, but perhaps better. It's funny how academic economists and social scientists lag so far behind commonsense. I guess it's partly down to academic verification, transliteration and peer approval processes, before it is finally translated back into plain English (and what we've known all along) – if it ever gets that far.

AFP - Trio of labour market specialists wins 2010 Economics prize


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Legality Over Justice (& Commonsense) - Sometimes Britain Is Stupid

Actually, it's far too frequent that rule pushers forget that rules are meant to be fair and that laws are meant to be just, and this is just another example of rules applied over principle:

Brought up, educated and married in England... but father is denied UK citizenship for not being 'English' enough -


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Welcome Back Britain

A Commonwealth free trade agreement…

- Commonwealth: It's Time To Talk Trade
- The Royal Commonwealth Society
- Commonwealth Conversation: Final Report
- The Case For Commonwealth Free Trade

For the Commonwealth to work it must have meaningful agreements, this means trade agreements.

Within this, closer relations between New Zealand and Britain are even clearer, as we are the closest of countries in the Commonwealth, sharing common social institutions, a common pool of British peoples and (for NZ) a founding document based in an enduring relationship with the British Crown.


Sir Keith Park - A Kiwi & A Brit

A common hero, reflecting just how close we are, something we shouldn't forget or ignore, in fact a relationship we should use and strengthen to all our benefit.

Daily Mail: Sir Keith Park honoured with bronze statue


Monday, September 13, 2010

Regulating Competition Or Protecting National Interests?

The Australian 'competition' regulator isn't interested in fair, the Australian regulator is interested in protecting the monopoly of Australia's national airline, which it regards as in the national interest, regardless of whether more competition would be better for the public.

Why don't the papers say this, why can't they get the direct comment from people who openly express this view? Perhaps because there's something dirty about 'national interest' and 'nationalism' in these post-WWII, supposedly global free-market days, such that nobody involved wants to speak of it lest they are tarred by it.

This airline regulation business is in similar territory to agriculture and land ownership – national interest, even national security, is involved, and that often overrules the interests of fair and open competition. Still, it would be better if the newspapers and the people involved in regulation and business let it be part of the debate, at least then we'd have an idea of where everyone really stood on this matter.

[NZ Herald: Rejection of Virgin-Air NZ alliance unfair: Branson]


Thursday, September 9, 2010

We've Gotta Rebuild Them

We mustn't just pull down damaged historic buildings with heritage value, we must rebuild them. In some parts of Europe (many parts) entire towns were rebuilt exactly as they were after the annihilation of WWII.

Surely it is a crazy New Zealand disease to even consider that beautiful old buildings destroyed by the earthquake need not be rebuilt?

[Heritage Buildings To Be Demolished, The Herald]


Monday, August 30, 2010

The Sale Of Knives

The open sale of Nazi replica daggers and a plethora of cheap, but deadly, knives.

It is surprising and worrying that a shop which I recently encountered in York can retail these items, as well as true-to-scale replica guns and rifles.

I understand there's been a problem with knife crime in Britain (and in New Zealand) so why are knives that exploit the fascination with lethal weapons being sold in such a blatant way in the UK? Next we'll have weapon-type knives sold in cornerstores and dairies.


Open Fields

There is something very peaceful and serene about walking across the beauty of England's open fields.

All fields and meadows should be open access, even in New Zealand (horror).


When England Becomes A Republic

If England decides to become a republic when the Queen dies, then New Zealand will too, but otherwise, no, New Zealand should stay tied, and indeed strengthen ties, with Britain. Whatever the case, there's a large proportion of New Zealanders who are British descendents, and despite the surprising reneging of British identity by those politicians mentioned* (considering their place of birth and ancestory), I believe many other British-New Zealanders (and British-Australians) want their links to their ancestral homeland strengthened.

We have a common history, a common ancestory, a common culture, a common language – these commonalities are vital to our concept of who we are. We should not raise barriers to the free flow of persons between countries whose people have a shared history and a shared sense of identity from their deep and long roots in the British isles.

* Article regarding review of New Zealand and Australia's allegiance to the British monarchy -


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What Side Of The Footpath?

What side of the footpath do people tend to walk on in Britain? In New Zealand it is the left, although many new Asian immigrants insist on the right. I'm finding it difficult to determine Britain's, but, it appears the preference is for the right. This is odd, as I imagine New Zealand's preference would have followed Britain's originally. Has Britain's changed?

Footnote: I note that on many public steps in Britain people are asked to keep to the left. Going through an underbridge in a village the other day I saw there was a sign asking people to keep left. In New Zealand, footpaths on the main street of our largest city (Queen Street in Auckland) were once divided with painted lines and people asked to keep left (because the mayor was so frustrated by people continually moving 'aside' into his path).


Friday, August 13, 2010

Ten Suicides Every Week In New Zealand

And none reported.

Perhaps some reporting of suicide might allow some more understanding of why people commit suicide? What do people commit suicide? What are the common factors? What are the particular? And what should we do about our society (in whatever particular facets) to prevent these? I think these questions need to be posed. The persons who have commited suicide have taken the most extreme action. I think we need to understand why. It is wrong to ignore it and them.

Related article: Coroner at odds with ministry on suicide, The Herald


A Universal Income For Britain?

It's hard to believe, but this article in The Daily Mail suggests something of that nature ("single working age benefit") is on the table...


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Colin James

If there's a guy out there who's really got his fingers on the pulse of New Zealand political and policy change it is Colin James. Combine that with an astute feel for the direction change is taking (worldwide), and a pithy, eloquent style, and you have a commentator worth paying attention to, wherever you're from.

Browse the back catalogue. Sign up to the email. Do it here:


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The UK Coalition Spiel

"Prosperity for all."

When the UK coalition says, "Everyone incentivised to work", they mean everyone compelled to work in a job.

But what we need to do, to maximise human fulfilment, is to incentivise contribution. This requires freedom. This requires a non-compelled income so we can choose what we do, where, how and when. What we do is how we contribute. The more we do in a particular way, the more we specialise, the better we get at it, and the more effective our contribution is.


Gareth Morgan & A Tax On Capital

If a completely comprehensive capital tax was put in place on assets (especially without a guaranteed basic income) it would be deplorable. As anyone who was secure in their freehold ownership of anything would have to pay an ongoing cost of ownership. No-one could rest or make a contribution that wasn't immediately financially rewarding.

With her poll tax (on people) Margaret Thatcher was trying to make everyone into 'rational capitalists' ('Homo economicus') by compelling all people to make financial gain the purpose and result of what they do. People aren't that way naturally. First and foremost, fulfilment is our primary motivation, whether this attracts a financial income or not.

I think Morgan also stands within the economic conception that the primary motivation of people must be financial for economies to work. I don't prescribe to that. I believe that the primary motivation of people is to fulfil themselves and realise their potential in what they do, and thus we need to create a system, including an economic system, that enables people to do this. I think if we put the incentive of fulfilment by contribution first, above financial incentive, then we can create a system where every one is fulfilled in contributing to a system that enables everyones fulfilment.


The Media (& Prisons)

Thank God the media doesn't run the country: scandal, gossip, exaggeration, hyperbole, excitation, knee jerk response, aggravation, big man syndrome, cynicism, win-lose psychology, … all symptomatic of the general media pathology.

Apparently the media in Norway's a little different, see below (although I doubt "subscriptions" is the real answer), and the prisons are certainly different (quote below is from an interesting article on Norway's prison system, link follows):

"The national media's portrayal of crime also helps foster tolerance for Norway's prison system. Newspapers rely on subscriptions rather than newsstand sales, so they don't depend on sensational headlines. And the writing style is less emotional, more pragmatic, than in other countries. In his book When Children Kill Children: Penal Populism and Political Culture, American criminologist David Green compares the British media's reaction to a murder case in which children tortured and killed a child with a similar case in Norway. The British newspapers, he writes, portrayed the murder as "alarmingly symptomatic of deep-seated moral decline in Britain." The Norwegian papers, however, presented their case as "a tragic one-off, requiring expert intervention to facilitate the speedy reintegration of the boys responsible." In Norway, acts of extreme violence are seen as aberrant events, not symptoms of national decay. "
Sentenced to Serving The Good Life, 12 July 2010, TIME (,9171,2000920-1,00.html)


Big Business Revenge

Quote from AAAS Policy Alert newsletter for 8 July 2010 (AAAS is the 'American Association for the Advance of Science', publishers of the journal 'SCIENCE'):

More on Cell Phones and Health. As previously reported (Policy Alert, 6/21/10), San Francisco adopted an ordinance requiring retailers to display the amount of radiation emitted by each cell phone they sell. Now it is reported that immediately following its passage, CTIA (the cell phone industry association) issued a statement saying that "after 2010, it would relocate its annual three-day fall exhibition, with 68,000 exhibitors and attendees and ‘$80 million' in business, away from San Francisco."

Who rules America? Its elected representatives or the organising bodies of corporate non-persons? Are their actions in the interests of people or in the interests of profit? I'm not saying the two can't go together, but that one should have the obvious priority.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

GST / VAT Dampens Productivity

I'm concerned. After the last rise, New Zealand took a while to grow again. Or did it? New Zealand GDP appeared to take off after 1986, but then flattened out from 1987 to 1992. There was another rise in GST in 1989. In 1991 there was a peak unemployment rate of over 11%. From '92 to '95 GDP grew and unemployment dropped.

It's hard to correlate GDP with GST changes. However, an increase in GDP with all other taxes being held equal, should lead to a decrease in domestic demand, and so a decrease in GDP. It could be that this is what occurred with the introduction of GST. The introduction of GST could have coincided with a large increase in purchasing prior to introduction (reflected in the GDP rise of that year), followed by flat demand for the five years after its introduction (exacerbated by the minor 1989 GST increase) and thus flat GDP growth which also led to high unemployment. This appears to be what happened from a cursory inspection of the data:

New Zealand GDP
New Zealand employment

So it would appear that GST/VAT rises are a damper on productivity and employment, at least in the New Zealand situation, at that time of its introduction. A 2.5% should have a shorter term effect..., but one perhaps exacerbated by the current recession, especially in the UK.


Friday, May 21, 2010

GST / VAT – A Tax On Productivity?

That rhymed, did you notice, wonderful.

I think there's a good argument that a tax on products and services can be considered a tax on productivity. After all, we're taxing the products and services our businesses produce.

So is raising this tax, while lowering personal tax, a good idea?

[I'll give more on this later, feel free to comment]


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

UK Alternative Vote (AV)

MPs won't get elected unless they have 50% of the vote? That seems even more destructive of representation than FPP! Proportional representation (PR) enables greater representation of smaller minorities. The AV 50% only allows a majority – that would be the end of the Lib Dems and any other party than the main two. It's majority only rules. This would not be a good idea for representation that reflects the diversity of the public.

I don't like the sound it, I may be wrong (let me know if am), but if it's what it sounds like then it's a bad idea for any member of our society for whom the two main parties aren't representative.

Nick Clegg, the Lib Dems, and everyone who voted for them must get a fair and open referendum on electoral reform THAT INCLUDES PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION! If the Conservatives can't offer this to the general public to decide then they do not deserve to form a government.


The Cover Letter

We need to reword the cover letter to: "I may be able to provide some assistance", which is rewriting it from the angle of collaboration and offering aid, not cooperation and service. It is writing as if empowered, not disempowered, submissive or subservient.

It's a 'do you want to work together?' kind of tone, an 'I can offer…', 'do we compliment', 'can we work together' type of deal. It's about equal respect and equal rights and equal dignity.

Be a human being.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Income Inequality

Who have the largest incomes?

The businessmen CEO's, the financiers and the lawyers. That is, those who hold the purse strings, and the power, pay themselves the most.

How is this ethical? They aren't the most intelligent or the hardest working or the most academically qualified.

It's bullshit.

Why do we let this happen? Because we just ignore it. We don't understand it. And we don't pay attention to it. Or, most usually, we buy into it, we see it as inevitable, so we accept it. In some sense we think that a person at the top can actually do the work of more than two people, but they (or we) can't. Nobody can. And certainly nobody is 'worth' more than two people, no matter what they do, no matter how 'popular' they are.

In the past we accepted the 'chain of being' and God-appointed superiority. But we're wiser now, or should be. This income discrepancy isn't about royal blood or meritocracy, it's about taking advantage, because, according to business philosophy, 'If you can take something (and get away with it) then you should'. While this collective belief prevails it's hard (and disabling) to do otherwise.

It's this atheism of ethics that we need to put a stop to, because it's not right, it's not acceptable to pay yourself more, just because you can. Nor is it acceptable to accept greater pay from those who have already bought into the system. "The market rate for the job", that's a con – the market rate for the job is an average of those who are given the job by those who control it, not a rate relevant to those who could do it but are never given the opportunity to.

And just because your product is more popular than others, does that make you 'worth' more than others? Am I a better, more valuable human because I've sold more than others? Was I worth more before that? Is a person worth more, a 'better person', because their product is worth more? Should the value from our contribution be in the realising of ourselves and our potential, or should it be in the fickleness of popularity and money?

Unfortunately, until we democratically agree to sharing, we are highly unlikely to share, because when it's not done together then those who do share are disadvantaged relative to those who don't.

So we need to make our policy mandate sharing and contribution, not selfishness and profit. Then the incentives and reward are in contributing as we best can where and when we see a need, and opportunity to do so is equal. Rather than the incentives being the fickleness of profit and selfish accumulation, with vastly disparate opportunity. (And moreover, organisation, with sharing, is by collaboration, not by required cooperation with a hierarchy.)


Alcohol & Caffeine

People get pissed, people die, people's live are wrecked. Yes, some wine and beer tastes good (when you get used to the alcohol). But is that enough? What really is the point of alcohol and caffeine at all?

But if we didn't have it, imagine the difference to our high streets… no cafes, no bars, pubs or clubs, no restaurants (well a lot less evening dining I am sure). No vineyards and wineries, no breweries, no liquor shops…, no specialised drinking glasses, bottlers, I'm sure you can imagine more…

With this amount of vested interested it's hard to see alcohol and caffeine going down the road of tobacco (look at the resistance there), but could it happen…?

Coffee in the morning, alcohol at night, this is the cycle for a great many people. Or there's the 'work hard during the week, get blotto at the weekend' crowd.

There's no doubt its not good for us, but it has become such a part of our culture, such a part of being 'social', and 'being social' has become such a driving necessity of our media-based culture.

But if we require alcohol to be social, then perhaps we're not actually social creatures at all (at least not in the 'party' way our media exults).


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lib Dem Supply & Demand

It may be better for Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems to support a Conservative government on supply and demand (rather than in coalition, with ministers), but then again, ministry positions in government may maintain a higher profile for the Lib Dems, so long as they concur with Lib Dem policies (so no Minister of Immigration).

However, whatever agreement with the Tories, if the Lib Dems don't get a referendum on electoral change out of it, then it's a bad deal.

Twenty-three percent of the vote? That's 149 seats the Lib Dems should have got, not 57.

[UK Election Results]


Monday, May 3, 2010

UK Election - Cameron & Clegg

It looks like David Cameron is going to get in, with the help of the Euro crisis (which will no doubt disadvantage Nick Clegg).

I don't see much hope for Gordon Brown (thank goodness – he doesn't come across as a good guy to work with).

Perhaps David could work with Nick. The 'big society' could be both of their aims, only David's isn't done quite as fairly. If only either could see that 'money' needn't be (and often isn't) the primary incentive of people and certainly is not the pre-requisite for a good (or 'big') society. If they realised this, then they might re-structure the tax system for sharing in a base income that enables us all to contribute as we best can.

One day...


Friday, April 30, 2010

Third UK Leaders Debate: Forced To Work

"(People) must be forced to work" Gordon Brown. What kind of work is this that we need to be forced to do it?

"If you are offered work you can do, you must take it." David Cameron.

How do we encourage people to work? We talk about contribution. We talk about life and what it is about. We enable fulfilment via contribution ('work') that realises ours potential. We enable learning. There is no self-esteem in work that doesn't fulfil us.

"The right thing" is, according to David Cameron, to take work that does nothing to fulfil our potential, that does nothing to enable us to grow.

Rather than forcing people to work, we need to look at ways to make the work better, so we want to do it. Better work, work that works better, is also more effective work, work that isn't wasteful, work that is fulfilling and purposeful.

None of the leaders can get their heads around the fact that it isn't people who are the problem, it is the work that is the problem. That is what we need to fix. Take the hammer to the work so that people will want to do it, don't take the hammer to the people to force them to do it.

[Third UK Leaders Debate on BBC (via C-Span)]


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Second UK Leaders Debate

How do leaders keep us choosing them when all they do is the same? Through fear, through stoking the fear of what will happen if we do things differently from the way they have been done before.

We accept control from controllers not so much because of the fear of their retaliation as the fear that they feed us on what will happen if we don't do what they say, if we do something different.

The leaders 'reality' of only doing things their way in the way that has been done before is the reality they create, it is not the one we have to have if we wish to do things differently, to do things better. Gordon Brown's and David Cameron's "Get real" means get with the reality as they see it, in which things are done they way they do them, as they have been done in the past. But this is not the reality to choose if we want to do things better.

When the British leaders talk about Europe and "allies" they seem to forget who their traditional "allies" actually were, and that not all of them were European. Britain would have greater strength if it remembered its allies in the Commonwealth and, in particular, the diaspora of British peoples in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and America who have a massive emotional and ancestral link to the land they originally came from.

If Britain's trade is now 'mainly with Europe' it is to a great extant because they have turned their back on their traditional allies and the greater trade they had with them in the past as part of the deal for 'joining Europe'. But Britain should be able to be part of Europe and keep its allies. It is when 'Europe' forces Britain into an either-or choice (Europe or allies) that Europe is wrong, and when this happens, Britain should stand up for itself and its people wherever they are.

[Second UK Election Debate on Sky]


Friday, April 23, 2010

First UK Leaders Debate

The politician's are falling back on the same failed policies of the past, nothing really new.

Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg won big time on education, actually addressed the question and didn't patronise the young person who asked it.

Gordon Brown has a mocking smile when listening which is very unattractive.

You would think that with something as powerful as 'Systems Thinking' to use for cutting waste that it would be mentioned in the leaders debate, but no-one did. So it still seems no-one's going to do it.

Let's get rid of the yo-yo nature of economics that our system conspires for, this requires real change, to the system, not band-aids on the symptoms, but holistic change that prevents the damage from occurring in the first place.

David Cameron's, "If you work hard I will support you", is not true. It's more 'If you work hard at only the work I want you to do, then I will support you', and that's just a crap deal.

[First UK Election Debate on ITV1]


Monday, April 12, 2010

'Real Work' Is Not Only 'Paid Work'

Jane Clifton's article on beneficiaries ('Suck It And See', Listener, Apr 10-16, 2010) is an insult to people in general and a wrong-headed interpretation of what work is. She makes the common mistake of equating 'work' with only 'paid jobs', and denigrates those whose 'work' is unpaid as less than human.

Her article is an insult to those who are attempting to make a contribution that reflects their own skills and abilities in the places they see a need, whether this work is remunerated or not.

She equates all work of worth with work that is paid for by employers, an extremely narrow definition that excludes the very real and rewarding contribution that all people can make when they choose how, when and where they contribute.

Jane refers to beneficiaries who are not 'structurally unemployed' or who have not been irredeemably damaged by society (a group perhaps much larger than she realises) as an, "…elective underclass of bludger…", and proceeds to insult them, as if by doing the work they want to do, work not offered by an employer or well remunerated, makes them 'indecent', 'dishonest' and uninterested in, "…providing for [their] family."

After dehumanising, "…such people…", she then proceeds to the next step of persecuting them with the cry of there being a, "…good case … for putting them into work gangs…", and pleading that, "…such people need a prod…".

Dehumanising and persecuting are the features of '-isms' that make for racism, sexism, ageism and all the grouping of persons into 'other' categories where they are considered less than ourselves and eligible for persecution. This performance should be beneath a person of Jane's intelligence and standing, and for a supposedly fairly 'enlightened' magazine, such as the Listener, to give it a voice, is disappointing.

Perhaps Jane might want to think about how there might be a bit more to life (and work) than just the work that is valued by the dollar, and use her public position to publicise how we might make a society where the value of work is according to how well it fulfils the potential of people, not just how well it exploits them (and the Earth's resources) for the few that employ (and own) them.

[Jane's full article won't be online until 24 April 2010, but hopefully, when it is, you will be able to see it here:]


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Agriculture: A 'Strategic' Asset

Agriculture is probably the most valuable, non-military strategic asset in the world. No-one is going to let their agricultural sector fail or sub it out while the world is viewed through the eyes of nations that prefer not to trust each other for essential products, despite the economic sense in it.

This puts New Zealand in a difficult place in regard to its most prolific natural resource – our natural environment and its eminent suitability for producing agricultural produce. By rights, if agriculture were not protected and subsidised in most developed countries, New Zealand would be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but instead our incomes continue to contract.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Managers aren’t responsible for what staff do. Staff are responsible for what staff do. If people aren’t responsible for what they do, then they don’t do what they do responsibly.

The idea that managers are responsible for staff actions is an attribute of organisations where staff are controlled, where there is a system of control.

When staff know their job and do it their way they are also responsible for their job. It is when managers that are controllers intervene to control the way staff do their job that the responsibility of staff for their job, and the ability of staff to do their job, is compromised. Manager-controllers have full responsibility for that mistake.



Liberate Learning

A shared base income liberates us to learn in the ways that we choose, not necessarily through institutions, universities, polytechnics and accredited providers.

We now have the greatest repository of information the world has ever seen. We have websites that link texts in smart ways using the ‘wisdom of crowds’ enabling us to create the best reading lists we could ever imagine, because these reading lists are created by ourselves according to our own interests.

Our interest in whatever subjects interest us is the greatest motivator for learning. Limitations on where we learn and how we learn are simply obstacles to our learning. We can drive our own learning, seek our own findings and take our own direction according to our own interests. The internet makes this possible. We need to liberate funding from its ties to institutions and tie it to people. A shared base income enables us, frees us, to learn and grow and contribute how we wish.

Institutions should be provided as facilities, but not as prerequisites to funding and thus learning. The existing funding system is just an obstacle to our freedom to learn. Take it away and share the income from trade in a base income so that we can all have the freedom to learn and contribute in the ways we are best able. These forms of funding control are no longer needed. We can direct our own learning and co-ordinate and organise in the ways we wish to if we have the security to do so.



Fair Income Distribution Enables Choice

When income is poorly distributed most people cannot afford to make the choices they would wish to buy environmentally friendly products. While income distribution is unfair demand for environmental products will be constrained, and the cost reducing factors of mass production will not come into effect to drive prices down.

We need to enable people to make their choices directly. That is our greatest democracy. Government imposed legislation is not democracy, it does not allow freedom of choice. A shared base income does.



Business Organisations Should Serve People

It is not people who should serve businesses, but businesses that serve people. Business, companies and organisations are our means of organising ourselves to contribute and increase the ability of our system to enable fulfilment without harm for everyone.

Businesses are not more important than people. There is no reason why businesses should pay less tax on their profits than people do on their incomes.



Why We Need To Change Our System

Our system sustains inequity and does not enable us to realise our full potential. Too many people are harmed. One factor is that a few people’s products will always attract substantially more money than most others. But we can change that by sharing half our income from trade in a base income we all receive so we can all contribute in the ways that best match our abilities and realise our potential. Let’s do that.

By doing that and other things we can construct a system that helps to lower crime, reduce disadvantage, equalise opportunity, and eliminate exploitation, poverty and the enormous cost of lost human potential.

The internet has seen a massive explosion in creative contribution, but our system doesn’t work for this. Our system curtails our ability to contribute as we wish in ways that best suit ourselves and where we see a need. We need our system to take a lesson from the internet and enable sharing. By sharing half our income from trade in a shared base income we can freely share our ideas and more fully realise ourselves.



We Expect Too Little & Accept Too Much

What vision do our politicians give us? What direction do they head for? How do they know where to turn when they don’t even know where they are going?

We need a system that allows us to live our lives without harm. Without an aim, without a vision, an ideal or a purpose we cannot reach where we want to go. If we do not know where we want to go we cannot get there.

Let's make this something to do. Then, when we examine and understand our system, we can uncover the means to get there. But to say, before we’ve even tried, before we’ve even aimed for our goal, that it is too hard, that it could never happen, means it never can. We haven’t even started to try. Let’s start now. Let’s aim for this. Let’s discover how to reach it. And then make it so.



Fulfilment Without Harm

What do we all want? We all want to live fulfilling lives, to realise our potential, to contribute in ways that best reflect who we are.

What is the fundamental wisdom? No harm. With wisdom we realise that the only way we can live fulfilling lives without harm is by not harming other's fulfilment.

Not harming other's fulfilment means means not controlling what other's do. Thus control is a form of harm and we must reject it.



The Right Way

The right way is to realise our potential and find fulfilment without harming other's fulfilment.

Fulfilment and the realisation of potential comes from making our best contribution, from being ourselves and realising ourselves in our ideas and our product. This realisation is growth, is life.

We who pursue the right way of fulfilment without harm are characteristically persuasive, tolerant, responsible, free and fair, because these attributes facilitate fulfilment without harm.

Pursuit of the right way breeds flexibility and the strength to see other's points of view and attain win-win scenarios. Understanding the unlimited nature of our potential leads us who pursue fulfilment to see the world as an open game in which we act independently but without harm so we all grow.

The pursuit of fulfilment without harm leads to free and fair markets, a shared income, and democratic organisations operating in accordance with the purpose of fulfilment and the principle of no harm.

[Excerpt from The Common Purpose Manifesto]


Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Shared Base Income

This is important, this has got to be read, "A Shared Base Income..."

"Resource allocation is a dilemma for any society. How do we share? How could that work? I think that managed resource allocation, particularly of products and services, is not feasible with any form of central control or planning. The complexity of individual need for product (and contribution of) is too complex - we may all need houses, all food, but we all want to make our own choice of food and housing. How do we enable this? Well, the free market economy has done this to a degree for finished products. It enables us to choose what products, what technology we adopt (and then adapt to our use).

"I think we cannot throw out the free market if we want a free society. Unfortunately, in a free market (and it must also be a fair market, competing by being distinctive, not by undermining competitors) some people will earn more than others - that is just the way things are, some people's products are more popular than others and thus they will accumulate more money. Fortunately, money cannot only be accumulated, it can be shared. And this is what must happen if we want a free and fair society where everyone is free to make their best contribution, according to what they are best able to do and where they see a need. Money can enable this.

"Money in a system where it is not shared, but allowed to accumulate, causes the incentive of the system to become, overwhelmingly, the pursuit of money. In a system where money is shared (say half of all our earnings from trade shared between us all) money is no longer the primary incentive. When we all have a shared base income then we are free to decide how we contribute, and we do that according to who we are and where we see the need - in other words we realise our potential.

"In this system of shared income, there will be still be persons who earn more than others, but there will be a base income in which we can all find the security to contribute how we wish. With this we will be likely to choose greater leisure (some of the greatest ideas are conceived at so called 'leisure') and, no doubt, we will seek to automate and mechanise those jobs that are repetitive and physically harsh.

"A shared base income also gives us all a direct share in the growth of our economy, indeed its level will vary with it. It would, I believe, give us a much greater sense of community as well as independence to contribute how we are best able."



Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Kiwi Flag

If we didn't want our flag to say anything about our history and so on..., then maybe the Kiwi flag would be a goer, eh? We're all Kiwis aren't we?

The Kiwi Flag


New Zealand Coat Of Arms

If the flag is changed, what happens to this?

Image of New Zealand Coat of Arms

"The Coat of Arms depict a shield with four quadrants divided by a central "pale". The first quadrant depicts the four stars on the flag of New Zealand; the second quadrant depicts a golden fleece, representing the nation's farming industry; the third depicts a sheaf of wheat for agriculture; and the fourth quadrant depicts crossed hammers for mining. The central pale depicts three galleys, representing New Zealand's maritime nature and also the Cook Strait. The Dexter supporter is a European woman carrying the flag of New Zealand, while the Sinister supporter is a Maori Warrior holding a Taiata (Spear) and wearing a Kapeu (earring). The Shield is topped by the Crown of St. Edward, the Monarch of New Zealand's Crown. Below is a scroll with "New Zealand" on it, behind which (constituting the "heraldic compartment" on which the supporters stand) are two fern branches." Coat of Arms of New Zealand, wikipedia,


Saturday, February 13, 2010

It Does Not Have To Be This Way

We don’t have to have the system we do. We can change our system from one that sustains and increases inequities to one that shares opportunity so we can all contribute in the way that best suits us.

We need to recognise the intended or unintended purpose of our system, and think outside of this, to a system that enables us to live how we want to live, without harm. Our system is not so complicated it can’t be comprehended, though it may appear so from the jargon and rhetoric academics continually build around it.

Money is the oil in our system, but should not be the purpose of it. Money allows our system to function. It enables trade and the allocation of resources without premeditated control. But the market is not perfect. Money tends to pool, and in our system at the moment these pools are protected, damaging the rest of the system.

Fortunately, the nature of money, unlike resources, means it can be constantly distributed so we all have enough to make our best contribution according to what we best do. This continual distribution of money to all parts of the system is via a shared base income.

Our current system has evolved out of a history of power and wealth in hierarchical societies. A basis designed, most particularly, to preserve the resources of the few who already have resources, a basis provoking an often over-riding pursuit of money and resources by any participating in it (this is the de-facto purpose of our current capitalist system).

We can change the basis and purpose of our system to enable us all to live fulfilling lives without harm, but we have to choose to do this. Take a look at OUR SYSTEM if you are interested in enabling us all to have the freedom to live without harm, and you’d rather this was the purpose of our system.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Manifesto e-book

An e-book of The Common Purpose Manifesto is now also available at Amazon as well as the soft cover print version at Blurb. The manifesto's purpose of fulfilment without harm underlies the spirit of TheDUDE and is the basis of the OUR SYSTEM network for changing our system so we can all live without harm. If we don't consciously have this as our goal, we cannot attain it.

The Common Purpose Manifesto states the purpose of fulfilment without harm and outlines the changes we need to make to our system to allow this to be a reality. The OUR SYSTEM network summarises some key elements of this change in its Agenda.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Iranian Victory Of The Revolution Day

“Last week, two men were hanged after being accused of inciting the post-June 12 election violence that erupted last summer in Iran. The Iranian government failed to answer one key question - how these men could have been responsible for the violence when they were being held in detention long before it even occurred? As if this injustice wasn't enough, now the lives of 9 more men hang in the balance on similar charges. We fear some of them may be executed before February 11th - a date holding much significance in Iran and one that could signify an end to these abuses.” Amnesty International USA (Feb 6, 2010)

It is hard, frustrating, to look on and see people being killed for pursuing the freedom to express themselves without harm. I hope the Iranian people can collectively show enough strength to reject their controllers. The Iranian leadership’s control needs to be rejected by Iranians for their authority to be removed. The only authority these leaders have is from people doing what they say – if people, Iranians, particularly those instrumental to the authority of the leaders, such as the police, the army and the technocrats stop doing what the leadership tells them to, its authority will dissolve.

It is the most courageous thing we can do, to stand up and reject authority and demand the right to live without harm. But if this is what Iranians want, they must do it. And if the leadership wants to show strength then they should know that true strength is respecting people and their right to express themselves without harm. Rejecting harm (including the use of harm) isn’t weak, it is strong. It is time Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showed this strength. Likewise, it is time for the Iranian people to show the courage and foresight to reject control. True leaders live without harm, a principle we can all lead in.

[Source: OUR SYSTEM]


Saturday, February 6, 2010

The New Zealand Flag

Whoever heard of a flag that represents only what "we are today" (New Zealand Herald, 6 Feb 2010)? But then, whoever heard of nation that is only what it is today? We are our history - where we come from and what we have done is part of who we are. Forget it and we forget ourselves and our culture.

The Union Jack is on the New Zealand flag for reasons bound to our history and the very being of New Zealand as a nation. If you are a New Zealander, esp. of British or Maori descent, then you should know this. New Zealand's founding document, The Treaty of Waitangi, is an agreement between Maori and the British Crown. The New Zealand flag reflects Britain and the British people in the South Pacific.

Our New Zealand culture is bound to Britain by the way we do things, our history is intermeshed. The British descendents here are still a people, we still have an ethnicity, just as the Maori do and every people around the world. To forget and then destroy our ties to Britain destroys our self-concept and denies us our history. Rather than destroy this tie we should strengthen and celebrate it.

The Maori flag is a good idea - the New Zealand flag doesn't well represent them (if any change were made to the New Zealand one it should have been the inclusion of a Maori symbol rather than the Southern Cross). But the New Zealand flag is still our flag - yes it does represent the British in the South Pacific, but that is where we came from, who we are; the fact that there are now many other peoples here doesn't mean we should change our flag, certainly not while our nation is founded on the Treaty of Waitangi.

Not until the Treaty is superceded by another agreement should the flag be changed, maybe that agreement will cede sole soveriegnty to Maori, who knows; however, we would be wrong as British people in the South Pacific to sunder through thoughtlessness and neglect our ties to Britain and the British culture our people brought here and that forms the basis of us our culture. Our roots in Britain go back far further than our roots in New Zealand. For our wellbeing and our realisation of who we are we should strengthen these ties not deny them.



Saturday, January 30, 2010


Amnesty International USA is partitioning on domestic political issues such as healthcare reform and Guantanamo - this is excellent. But Amnesty (and Amnesty New Zealand) needs to expand its actions further - human rights are compromised on a grander scale than the clear and obvious imprisonment of activists or the denial of medical insurance.

The equal right to opportunity is an essential right but it is constantly violated by enormous income disparity in the United States and elsewhere (including New Zealand). It is essential to address this disparity and create a system where we all have equal opportunity. This requires a shared base income.


Wrong And Still Wrong

We want to hear Tony Blair say he was wrong, even if just in the way he justified the war on Iraq. We think Tony Blair is better than Bush, I do not think anyone would ever expect Bush to realise the war was wrong, but Tony Blair might be able to.

Tony Blair was wrong to invade another country in order to continue on-song with America. Blair should have made the stand, as the rest of the world did, against Bush’s aggression. That stand would have been far more powerful with Britain onside. And who knows, maybe it would have given Bush second thoughts – certainly it would have made the moral equation simpler.

Instead Blair’s choice has made Britain weaker, ultimately it appears as a lackey of the States, and that’s what it is and what it will be until another such situation (God forbid) arises when the test of ‘loyalty’ vs ‘right’ rises again. Loyalty is the attribute of hierarchical societies, of power and control. Right is the attribute of responsible societies where rights are more important than loyalties. We must always question (and break) our loyalties when sustaining them violates others rights, when it harms.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Peace & Quiet

What I like best about the days post Xmas (perhaps especially if you don't go away) is the peace & quiet. Everything's slower, there's less work going on, more leisure, more tranquility. Totally unlike reality TV. Sometimes I worry if the parade of high octane extraverts on our TVs is affecting our minds, but I guess that's why we turn off and watch the more real than 'reality TV' dramas on DVD (though even the characters in these are increasingly frenetic).

Thank God for actual reality, and a pace of life with time for thought, for strolls and appreciation, which I think and hope many of us still enjoy, despite the TV.