Growing Inequality Can Be Seen As Clever Politics

Voter turnout has been falling steadily across the western world in recent decades, and not least in New Zealand. We have a proud record of high turnouts in general elections, but even here, we dipped below 80% in 2008 and fell further to a post-war low of 74.21% in 2011. The problem is even more […]

If the Poor Are Worse Off, We’re All Worse Off

The Herald-DigiPoll last week cast an interesting light on the political debate as the election season approaches.  The poll showed that no fewer than 74% of New Zealanders thought that inequality had widened over the past six years – that, in other words, the rich had got richer and the poor comparatively poorer. On the […]

Why the Poor Can’t Put Food on the Table

The OECD revelation last week that 17.2% of New Zealanders found it difficult to afford food is a shocking and shameful statistic for any country that claims to be prosperous and developed.  It shows how far we have come from the time when it could be said that “here, there is enough for everyone.” Among […]

The Inequality Machine

The widening gap between rich and poor that has disfigured and weakened our society over recent decades is widely deplored, but there is surprisingly little understanding of how that growing inequality has been brought about. For most people, it simply reflects the natural order; the rich have each individually taken their chance, as anyone would, […]

Why Ignoring the Exchange Rate Widens Inequality

Last week’s report of an unexpected deterioration in our terms of trade adds a further and unwelcome twist to an already distressing story – the damage being done to our productive sector by an overvalued dollar. The recent admission by the new Governor of the Reserve Bank, Graeme Wheeler, that the dollar is overvalued is […]

Opening Our Minds

Over the past four years of recession, we have seen a re-run of the debate that surrounded the Great Depression. In the 1930s, there were those, like Herbert Hoover, who insisted that austerity – by cutting government spending – was the way to beat recession. Others, like John Maynard Keynes, were convinced that the remedy […]

What Price Inequality?

It is surely no accident that both Garth George and Tim Hazledine have, in the last week or two, highlighted growing inequality as a prime cause for current concern. I find that many of those I talk to share that view. It was, however, salutary to read Martin Robinson’s argument last week that growing inequality […]