New Zealand: Another notch on neoliberalism’s bedpost

After being savaged by New Zealand prices for over two weeks, I purchased a magazine (North and South, $9.00NZ, $6.75US) with a cover article, Why Prices are so Bloody High, by Chris Barton. It’s long and mostly anecdotal, but a key paragraph follows:

” It is estimated New Zealand’s economic growth rate would have been 15.5 percentage points higher between 1990 and 2010 if income inequality had not surged in the Rogernomics and Ruthanasia years after 1985,” said business commenter Bernard Hickey. “the report essentially argues the ‘trickle down’ theory used for much of the last half century by most developed countries does not work and the best method of improving economic growth is to reduce income inequality.”

I assume that Roger and Ruth were former government officials here. I don’t follow these things.

At another point Barton cites social historian Gordon McLauchlan, so says “You have to take power away from those people who make $4 million a year and think they are worth it.”

I see the simmering resentment in McLauchlan’s remark. I don’t see any way that one person is worth a hundred, much less a thousand times more than another. Luck has a lot to do with wealth, as does scaling, exploitation of other humans, subsidy and choice of birth canal. I also do not understand how anyone can think a human being unworthy of food, shelter and health care.

I take it one step further however. Every powerful person has the ability to buy pet economists, train and feed them and teach them to speak in a given manner. It should not be surprising that the Chicago School is more properly called the Rockefeller School of economics. These social pariah will parrot any idea that pays well, and plays it out in the future to be for the good of all.

But the paymasters know better. Neoliberalism was not meant to “succeed” in the sense that all would enjoy its benefits. Rather, it was a stalking horse for those who do benefit, the haves who want more. So in that sense, it has not failed, but rather succeeded, wildly.

5 thoughts on “New Zealand: Another notch on neoliberalism’s bedpost

  1. “Starting from a tiny embryo at the University of Chicago with the philosopher-economist Friedrich von Hayek and his students like Milton Friedman at its nucleus, the neo-liberals and their funders have created a huge international network of foundations, institutes, research centers, publications, scholars, writers and public relations hacks to develop, package and push their ideas and doctrine relentlessly.”

    “They have built this highly efficient ideological cadre because they understand what the Italian Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci was talking about when he developed the concept of cultural hegemony. If you can occupy peoples’ heads, their hearts and their hands will follow.”


      1. What’s interesting to me is the common belief, sans evidence or experience, in the (long shot at best) hope that bad, corrupt institution(s) will, or could someday, find the moral courage to change their evil ways.


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