November 25, 2008
Retailing billionaire Gerry Harvey has lamented that Australian charity is being wasted on “no-hopers”. Asked in a new book about his community role, Mr Harvey said giving to people who “are not putting anything back into the community” is like “helping a whole heap of no-hopers to survive for no good reason”.
A whole heap of no-hoper homeless
Why on earth should we help them survive?
They don’t buy our chairs or appliances
When their dole payments arrive
Even if we display them on special
The homeless won’t buy a tv
They say they’ve got nowhere to plug the thing in
They’re plainly not like you and me.
They don’t have 600 race horses
Or a hundred and sixty odd stores
Or a fortune of one point six billion
And they’re probably covered in sores.
Survival should be for the fittest
Those who get up and get to the goal
Like the beast in the depths of a jungle drought
Who governs the water hole.
November 18, 2008
After committing to scrapping the ban on thermal generation and reviewing the ETS, John Key has discussed carbon tax as a market alternative. An adoption from the Greens, this policy would continue Key’s move to the centre. Overseas, it has been applied as a direct tax, affecting the pockets of road-users. The Workers Party opposes all measures that punish the consumer, as with GST, tax on cigarettes and the proposed levy on plastic bags.
More degradation occurs at production than consumption, and consumers have little influence over production. We must change the mode of production itself, so that it serves need rather than profit.
November 12, 2008
(The Spark, November 2008)
With the financial turmoil dominating the news over the last two months, commentators are talking about the end of the free market. Some panicked commentators have even questioned the survival of capitalism itself. With capitalism in a state of panic and all sorts of people in the media suddenly talking about Marx, it does seem to be a good time to look at what Marx had to say about capitalism that made his ideas so resilient.
What concerned Marx was the fact that while there were a lot of critics of capitalism active in his day, there had been no scientific analysis of how capitalism worked, so socialist projects were idealist and unable to gain much traction. Marx decided to start at the most basic level of economic production, the commodity, to discover how and why capitalism seemed to be so productive yet also so prone to crisis.
Picking up where earlier political economists had left off, Marx showed that the key to understanding the economy was the production of commodities - goods or services produced for sale. The one thing that all commodities have in common is human labour. Assuming people work at an average pace (which Marx called “socially necessary labour time”), eight hours of shoemaking is equivalent to eight hours of farming or eight hours of weaving. If I work for eight hours making shoes, I can buy goods to the value of eight hours’ labour (using a special commodity - money). If those goods are enough to feed and clothe me, I will do that labour every day to replace my used-up labour power. Read the rest of this entry »
November 2, 2008
Workers Party address to Kelburn election meeting 2 November 2008
Thanks for inviting the Workers Party to this meeting. We’ve contested several elections, but this is the first time I’ve stood myself and I must say it’s been a bit of an eye opener. There is a constant air of unreality to the whole affair.
For example, the relentless muck raking that’s been indulged in by some participants coupled with rhetoric about “fairness” and “trust”.
Also, the many outrageously deceitful claims. for example the sticker saying “more child poverty National - not the change we need” - as if there’s no such poverty today!
Read the rest of this entry »
October 14, 2008
- John Edmundson
While New Zealand has not yet experienced financial turmoil of the type facing the USA, there has been an unprecedented series of collapses of finance companies over the last two years. It is easy to simply blame the directors of these companies as individuals, identifying their greed and the criminality they have resorted to. This is the approach that the mainstream and financial media have taken, in some cases with a quite critical eye, but the problems are deeper than that.
The collapses began in 2006. The first significant company to go was Provincial Finance, known for its “Solid as, I’d say” endorsement from ex-All Black Colin Meads. Established as a mortgage lender, by December 2005 this represented only 6% of its business, while vehicle loans by then accounted for 83% of its lending.
While real estate holds its value or appreciates during good economic times, cars begin to depreciate the moment they are driven out of the yard. Defaults on loan payments from typically low-income, overstretched borrowers became rife, and Provincial Finance was left with increasing numbers of repossessed vehicles. The problem became so severe that the company bought a car yard to sell the 150 repossessed vehicles a month that they were saddled with.
By 2006, the whole edifice was in receivership, along with two others, National Finance 2000 Ltd and Western Bay Finance. At the time of the Provincial Finance failure, commentators responded by advising “mum and dad” investors to be more careful with their investments, but declaring that the collapse “doesn’t mean the entire sector’s dodgy”.
Read the rest of this entry »
October 9, 2008
“The market isn’t functioning properly. . .” - George Bush, Sept 25
What’s behind the current woes on Wall Street? Are the problems the result of just a few greedy speculators or do they reflect deeper problems within the system? Why do all the ‘mainstream’ discussions of the problems focus on the interests of business - what about the workers? Is there an alternative that puts workers’ interests first?
Come along and hear Paul Hopkinson, John Edmundson and Philip Ferguson of the Workers Party address these issues:
DUNEDIN 7.30pm, Wednesday, Oct 15
OUSA Clubs & Societies building
84 Albany Street
CHRISTCHURCH 7pm, Wednesday, October 22
Workers’ Educational Association
59 Gloucester St
October 6, 2008
Click here to download our special Spark supplement which analyses the crisis currently enveloping the world financial markets and asks what it might mean for workers as well as the rest of the global economy.