Whose Interests Are Served by Unemployment?

The unemployment figure announced this week at 6% and rising is a disgrace – not only a personal tragedy for individuals and families but a senseless waste of the nation’s resources that makes us all poorer. Nothing contributes more directly to growing poverty and widening inequality.  What’s more, the official statistics undoubtedly understate the number […]

Aiming at the Wrong Target

Labour will be “tougher than the Tories” when it comes to forcing long-term beneficiaries back into the labour market; so Labour’s new shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves, was reported as saying last week. The comment, which was presumably made deliberately to secure the headline, seems to be a mistake on a number of […]

Unemployment Makes Us All Poor

Last Thursday’s jobless figures – the worst in thirteen years – show that the four years since the global financial crisis plunged the world into recession have seen New Zealand unemployment get worse, not better. And, as is always the case in a recession, the official figures inevitably understate the numbers of those seeking work. […]

Crisis? What Crisis?

In January 1979, the British Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan, returned from a Summit meeting in the Caribbean to a Britain suffering the serious industrial unrest that became known as the “winter of discontent”. Interviewed at Heathrow airport, Callaghan’s relaxed attitude to talk of chaos was translated by The Sun the following morning into a headline […]

The Same Tired Old Excuses

As job losses reach crisis proportions, and many point the finger at an overvalued exchange rate, we have to put up with the same old tired and ill-informed assertions to the effect that overvaluation is not the culprit. Those who say this usually make two assertions; first, the exchange rate is irrelevant and secondly, there’s […]

Unemployment? It’s The Fault Of The Jobless Themselves

The latest figures showing higher unemployment may have dashed hopes that, in our fifth year of recession-induced stagnation, we have at last begun to recover, but we are still being offered the same old excuses. The problems arise, we are told, because of factors beyond our control – the Christchurch earthquake and the euro-zone crisis. […]

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 […]

Why Not for the Unemployed?

Two South Island crises in the last couple of weeks have seen the government step up to the plate. The failure of South Canterbury Finance and the Canterbury earthquake were very different disasters but both required government – acting on behalf of all of us – to make good losses suffered initially by a minority […]