Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Eco-Economy: A Culture Change is Required.


Free market idealism has had its day. Proponents and supporters of New Zealand's fifteen year excursion into pure free market economic theory need to acknowledge that the experiment has been a failure. The current account deficit is one very good example of how it has all gone wrong.

How can the economy be healthy when a deficit of $7.54 billion left the country over the last year? Compare that with the $500 million that Cullen, in his first budget, was able to get out of Treasury for three years of new government initiatives.

There have been two explanations presented for this enormous shortfall in the media.

The first, as presented in the Evening Post, most mainstream media and the right side of our political elite, is that as a nation we are spending more then we earn. This is a blatant miss-representation of the problem. The implication is that we are living in a false luxury, that we should all be more frugal and that it is our fault for spending too much.

The second explanation, put forward by centrist media commentators and our present government, acknowledges obliquely the underlying cause. (more on that later) It is suggested that we are not attracting enough foreign investment. Here the solution proposed is to make ourselves a more desirable investment option to the money makers in New York and London. Indeed in recent months both Helen Clark and Michael Cullen have been trying to seduce "business" people in foreign capitals, just as their predecessors have done before them.

However, in fact, the real problem is foreign investment.

As a result of fifteen years of free market nonsense, New Zealand is now owned, lock stock and barrel, by foreign corporations.

Consider our land and houses, just one part of a wider problem.

All our banks are foreign owned and they hold mortgages on most of our domestic property. A big part of the current account deficit consists of interest payments from the local branch banks to their head offices off shore. We are paying rent for our own houses.

Oh, but those foreign bankers are entitled to a fair return on their investment, aren't they?

No, because it has not been a fair investment. The money lent into the domestic housing market does not come from somewhere else. The money is created out of thin air by the commercial banks operating in New Zealand. The whole process is shamelessly acknowledged and supported by our Reserve Bank and the free market mandarins of Treasury.

More than NZ$15 million has been created each day for the last fifteen years by private bankers, according to Reserve Bank statistics.

For some reason the people in charge of our economy see it as "natural" and "desirable" to allow foreign bankers to create New Zealand dollars, "invest" them almost risk free into our housing market, and start charging us the highest effective interest rates we have ever had.


The only reasons given are theoretical, theory with shaky foundations and no supporting real evidence.

But the opposition has arrived. We do not need to stand for this any more. Our government has the sovereign obligation to protect our interests, and has the power to do so.

As Green Party Leader Rod Donald recently said:

"The solution to this economic crisis lies in New Zealand striving for more self reliance. Now more than ever we can see the huge impact on this country of free trade and corporate globalisation."

Grass root opposition has been flourishing this year. People are starting to ask questions they never dared before. Dissatisfaction with the status quo was the key to the Labour/Alliance victory, however almost nothing has changed. Taxes and interest rates are still high. Public service spending is still low. And we are still sending the lion's share of our profit to foreigners.

A paradigm shift is coming. Our culture is starting to change.

The free market ideal assumes that the only valid motivation for doing anything is financial reward. We have reached the ridiculous point where any other reason for working is considered quaint and naive. Doctors don't heal because they want to help people, they heal to earn money.

But most people work to stay alive and enjoy their friends, families and the beautiful world we live in. If they are lucky they also get to do something worthwhile, like helping people, or producing useful things.

Before the free marketeers took over, New Zealand had a culture of pragmatic egalitarianism. However imperfectly achieved, the objective was to be fair, honest and constructive.

Now we have a culture of financial rationalism. The explicit cultural aim is to be ruthlessly single minded about making money, however deceitful, dishonest or destructive you need to be.

The first step to releasing ourselves from our economic woe is to acknowledge the failure of the free market idealism. Then we can take control of our own economy and direct resources to the people who work for us, ourselves. We must stop grovelling for money from the faceless crooks who have enslaved us.

Finlay Thompson, NZ Banking Reform.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news