Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Can We Fix It?

Yes We Can!

No, that wasn't an Obamaism. Rather, I thought I'd open by quoting Winston Peters - a leader with a far better track-record in Public Healthcare.

This posting isn't just about healthcare however, although that will be touched on eventually.
Rather, I thought I'd start a small series outlining what we think is wrong with New Zealand at present (chiefly the economic and social snarlups brought on by our flirtation with Neoliberalism); and how we envisiage them fixed (Big-Thinking government economic programmes including import substitution, government job-creation as an alternative to the dole; and vitally needed education reform).

At first glance, it might look like I'm simply re-hashing the development policies of the so-called Asian Tiger/Dragon economies. This has been avoided for two reasons.

First, their strategy hinged upon a competitive advantage of cheap well-skilled labour - specifically the "cheap" bit. New Zealand trying to compete on this basis is impractical and ill-advised; not only because we'd be up against the sweatshop labour of the modern economic giants, but also because we should be fostering increased wages in order to boost our standard of living.

Second, I'm a great believer in having domestically developed solutions to our problems. It is a truism to say that foreign-built solutions are almost always tailor-made to fix problems in their own country of origin; problems which will most likely be quite distinct from those we face here, rendering such plans inappropriate for our domestic circumstances. Besides which, the Asian Tigers were effectively newly developing economies who had a good deal of the shelter of the Bretton-Woods system; New Zealand by contrast is an already well-developed country seeking to reverse its decline against a global economic backdrop wholly lacking in such stability (and with the added shackle of our immense distance from some of our main trading partners).

However, there are some definite similarities in intent and imposition; such as a need to nurture naescent domestic industries, ensure domestic capital retention (and thus re-investment), improve the post-secondary education system, and improve our export-lead growth.

I think we'll call it Taniwha Economics.

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