Govt chooses to cut debt & whittle down cash pile ahead of investing more heavily to improve housing & climate for future generations, just as it's done since 1989; Fed blinks and will tighten faster
A question for my paying subscribers. Should I open this up to the public now, in order to spread this around more? I'm happy to if this comment gets more than 10 likes. I try to keep plenty exclusive for those who have paid good hard money. But I wonder if opening it up would be useful to keep the debate going. Thoughts?
Kant famously said ‘Ought implies can.’ I think that applies viscerally here. The govt can only do what it has the social licence and political capital to do. Actually doing what needs to be done to fix the housing crisis and tackle climate change is political suicide, and if they are not in power, then they cannot do anything at all, which makes it a self-defeating action.
The political capital generated by the public narrative is in such a dire state because the largest portion of the demographic bell-curve has, inevitably, succumbed to a century of public-relations and marketing sophistry... The public have no idea what is real anymore, no one is taking Epistemic responsibility for what they believe, and given that what we believe informs what we do, it is therefore impossible for them to take moral responsibility for their actions (such as the political capital their flaccid epistemology creates in the voting booth).
I fear the balance between our positive-rights (our freedom to do) and negative-rights (our freedom from the actions of others) is being lost in this society-wide epistemic cascade failure, with positive rights (”My freedom!”) trumping negative rights (”Everyone elses freedom!”) far too often (which is logically self-defeating)! There is only one of you to enjoy your positive-rights to act, but seven billion enjoy their negative-rights to be free from your action. Framed like this, the moral calculus is obvious.
The solution is popularising the notion of epistemic responsibility in the public narrative. But as with all feedback loops in any complex and highly contextual system, if that process takes too long, the solution arrives too late :(
I congratulate Bernard on his work expanding the public’s epistemic armoury, his arrows see perhaps the straightest around at the moment, but I feel any kind of upwards blame upon government is fundamental attribution-bias. Such blame is better levelled out into the community generating the political capital determining the politicians actions, and especially at the media who ‘inform’ that public narrative. If anybody should be taking moral responsibility for their lack of epistemic responsibility, it is our sensationalist revenue-driven media, whose actions are first driven by our consumption habits. So I guess we can only blame ourselves! That’s never going to sell enough advertising to catch on though is it :(
One of the most influential figures in western history was Socrates. All he did was incessantly ask awkward questions. He was thought of as a "Gadfly". Keep up that continual buzzing in the governments ear Bernard. Other journos are catching on and more people than you know are listening.
Is there any doubt anymore that the genuine role of government is to keep the people down and the elite in control? How is it that the gov can do anything they want to us simply by invoking the "debt" word? Debt rules, and so we have food banks, poverty, homelessness, inequality. Why? Who says? Aside from a bit of cash, money is a number on a computer screen, that's all folks. There is no shortage. At any time the gov can fund anything it decides to fund, debt-free. Underfunding of social supports betrays its true agenda.
Let's be kind? Or let's be despots?
The pfa needs to be tossed or rewritten. Imagine the preamble: This Act ensures that public spending on social supports will be fully funded by the New Zealand Treasury, debt-free and in the public interest, to guarantee that no Kiwi will ever suffer the indignity of food insecurity, homelessness, or poverty.
Grrrr this makes me so ratty! Comparatively we have some of the lowest national debt in the world. We also have masses of social issues & our infrastructure is straining. Grant Robertson et al need to cut the bullshit & fix the Public Finance Act. I'm over neo-liberal ideology running our country & it's now & future stakeholders into the ground. I want my grandkids & all the young ones in my community to have quality social services, functional infrastructure & optimism that things can be done better. We need politicians & voters to consider larger/different/more compassionate perspectives. And if that means my home devalues, so be it.
3 year horizons,, what do you expect.
Well, I didn't think a podcast about the political economy would ever make me cry, but this almost did.
Bernard- really like your analysis thankyou-- but isnt it even worse? As your first IMF public debt comparison shows NZ debt is very very low because the IMF includes what Grant R refuses to- the assets of the NZ super fund.
By not acknowledging that these assets offet the gross debt he can pretend the debt situation is more alarming than it actually is- and hence the case for fiscal stringency.
I think the real resource contraints are the issue not the money- which is why we must divert materials away from luxury housing with appropriate tax. But redistribution to give enough money to those who are at the foodbanks is not an action contrained by resources-- the true contraint is the ideology of needing to give the poor incentives to better themselves
Time to recognise we borrow the world from our children.
"If anybody should be taking moral responsibility for their lack of epistemic responsibility, it is our sensationalist revenue-driven media, whose actions are first driven by our consumption habits" Don't you think this lets off the hook those among the VERY rich who are actively influencing public opinion through social and conventional media (e.g. the Koch brothers and their supporters https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/30/billionaire-stealth-politics-america-100-richest-what-they-want or Rupert Murdoch)? It's hard for people to make wise and moral choices when their reality is being so actively manipulated.