Chang­ing track

Sunday Star-Times - - Focus -

The Sun­day Star-Times editorial of October 22 sees the New Zealand econ­omy as a sort of self-reg­u­lat­ing ma­chine, like a self-driven car that op­er­ates on only one high­way. The editorial view thus in­di­cates un­ques­tion­ing sup­port for ne­olib­eral cap­i­tal­ism which, not sur­pris­ingly, strongly re­wards peo­ple with am­ple cap­i­tal – at the ex­pense of those with lit­tle or no

cap­i­tal. The trans­fer of wealth ev­i­dent over the past nine years is ev­i­dence – su­per-wealth for a few, ‘‘just about man­ag­ing’’ for most and ex­treme poverty for a grow­ing mi­nor­ity.

The editorial fur­ther states that our new gov­ern­ment must not in­dulge ‘‘in a nos­tal­gic rail trip into yes­ter­year.’’ Neo-lib­er­al­ism is ex­actly that, ex­cept the ‘‘yes­ter­year’’ is the 19th cen­tury, when a small pro­por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion held most of the wealth and the ma­jor­ity lived in poverty.

Af­ter World War II, Labour gov­ern­ments in both New Zealand and Bri­tain in­ter­vened in the econ­omy, em­pow­ered or­di­nary peo­ple and thus in­creased the eco­nomic, so­cial and in­tel­lec­tual wealth of those two coun­tries. The then full em­ploy­ment, com­fort­able homes and ready ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion and health ser­vices is a ‘‘nos­tal­gic rail trip into yes­ter­year’’ that may yet re­cur with the po­lit­i­cal change of direc­tion that New Zealand is about to ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ian J Tay­lor (Dr), Hamil­ton

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