The future of work – what’s the alternative?

An interesting comment by Incognito at The Standard on employment and unemployment, work life balance and the move towards more internationally transient labour and the increase in shorter careers for many of is.

Employment and unemployment (both classical and structural) are two sides of the same coin; the one cannot exist without the other. This ‘coin’ [no pun] forms the central pillar of our culture as well as our society. Everything is centred on employment or “work”. Money must be earned (or borrowed) to pay the bills, to afford a roof over your head (whether owning or renting), to pay for schooling, holidays, gadgets, etc. However, a job also provides social status (low or high, regardless) and respect, a place and opportunity for social interactions. In short:laboro ergo sum. Think Maslow’s pyramid symbolising the hierarchy of needs.

We are indoctrinated from a young age that we have to provide (for our family and for our society, through taxes) and become economically-productive law-abiding citizens. To give us all a good/better start on the “career ladder” we are encouraged to send our children to ECE, good/the best (?) schools, and preferably attain a tertiary qualification or two (with a nice grand student debt!). In fact, by law our children must attend a school/schooling for 10 years.

For some it is work to live and for others the motto is more live to work but for both the so-called work-life balance is crucial it seems. It is clear that work and life are pretty much inextricably linked together.

With the globalisation of the workforce and rapid technological changes it has become harder and harder to find secure employment, a meaningful job, or enough hours/pay to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ or just to make ends meet. We used to be able to look forward to a semi-comfortable retirement, the “golden years”, but no more. We now have to work longer and harder to build a “nest egg” and we are not even assured of decent provisions for when the inevitable age-related health issues occur; with a lot of luck we might get to enjoy a few twilight years in reasonable health and then leave this plane for ‘a brighter future’ or the shadowy path of oblivion.

Given all this, and much, much more, it is hard to imagine a society that does not evolve around employment as the major part of people’s lives, as their raison d’être. Surely, there is more to The Human Condition than can be summed up by laboro ergo sum? It is hard to see an alternative that allows maintaining and evolving a complex and (technologically) advanced society with the seemingly inevitable division of labour. But I think we are dire need of an alternative given the issues with (structural) unemployment, poverty, inequality, raping & pillaging of the environment, and many other negative outcomes of the current model.

There’s certainly some important modern challenges raised here – but what is the alternative?

It’s not possible to turn back technology, nor practical to slow down it’s rapid advances.

So we have to learn to deal with many of us not having jobs or careers for life. It would be impossible or at least highly impractical to try and guarantee long term employment.

Some careers are still potentially long term, like healthcare, teaching, law. But even those are changing, in some ways substantially, so retraining is often necessary.

It sounds like Andrew Little may be trying to address some of this in his ‘state of the nation’ speech in late January to kick off Labour’s new political year, and year in which they have to make a positive impression on voters.

Labour have been putting a lot of effort into their ‘Future of Work Commission’ .

Those entering the workforce today are likely to have several different careers and many more different jobs in their lifetimes compared to previous generations. Businesses need new models of organisation, processes and different skills from their workers in an increasingly globalised environment.

At the same time many workers have increasingly insecure and precarious work experiences due to casualisation, zero-hour contracts and other exploitative practices. On the flipside of this, many more people are self-employed by choice, with a younger generation of workers desiring to be their own boss or work in more flexible contracting arrangements.

It is essential that as a country we acknowledge, prepare for and adjust to these changes.  We need to understand the drivers of change, the challenges and opportunities, and what policy programme needs to be adopted so we can face the future with confidence.

Their stated objectives:

Develop policies which tackle the changing nature of work to ensure:

•           Decent jobs

•           Lower unemployment

•           Higher wages

•           Greater security when in work and when out of work

•           High skilled, adaptable and resilient workers

How can a Government ensure ‘decent jobs’?

It’s worth looking at the future of work and employment, and what we can do to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

But what is the alternative to what is happening now?

Leave a comment

48 Comments

  1. kiwi guy

     /  26th December 2015

    “How can a Government ensure ‘decent jobs’?”

    For a start all those Vibrant obese single mothers from South Auckland could be made to stop producing fatherless litters that the NZ tax payer apparently is obligated to pick up the tab for.

    The chance of those off spring ever being able to do a decent job ( except working over some victim at the bar or alley way ) is low, even after the tax payer blows endless amounts of cash playing ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  26th December 2015

      the taxpayer always picks up the tab!We cant allow the rich to lose their priveleged positions….hence bailing out the wealthy has become the norm…SCF ,Wall St and so on…and jailing the super fraudsters,money launderers ,and wealthy charlatans…perish the thought!the global financial system would be endangered!(;)

      Reply
      • kiwi guy

         /  26th December 2015

        Yes the financial markets are out of control severely distorting the real economy, you should have made the connection between this and the lack of job or wage growth.

        Nevertheless it is unacceptable watching my own hard earned money being taken off you and handed to drop kicks who REPEATEDLY make poor life choices while at the same time I am ranted at by Lefties telling me what an evil oppressor I am.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  26th December 2015

          ‘poor life choices’….cant all be born to rule.How can you have wealthy people without a whole heap of poor people?I guess you are against govt rent subsidies for landlords too.

          Reply
          • kiwi guy

             /  26th December 2015

            “govt rent subsidies”

            Good example of the tax payer subsidising property investors/speculators.

            Reply
            • Yes KG, anexample of mostly National taxpayers subsidising their own ‘landlord-speculator’ selves. Try stopping this well entrenched utterly ludicrous absurdity and you’ve got big problems KG. It’s an important component of a defective system sustaining itself. The largely unspoken, unnamed ‘generators’ of the New Zealand economy: wealth-poverty, real estate, liquor and criminal justice; the ‘entitlement culture’, the carrot, opiate and stick of the masses?
              Ψ

    • @ KG – Notwithstanding the all important home environment, which we do not know for certain is detrimental or always negative, the public education system and other societal influences, “The chance of those off spring ever being able to do a decent job” is roughly equivalent to the chances of society providing a decent job for them to do.

      Reply
      • kiwi guy

         /  26th December 2015

        WRONG. You never heard of IQ?

        Further more you qualify your argument into meaninglessness.

        “society providing”

        Sorry you are wrong again, jobs are not provided, they are the result of entrepreneurial individuals who come up with new products and services or improving existing ones, and investors who back them.

        By “society providing” jobs, you can only be referring to make work schemes, heavily subsidised and protected markets – all for the benefit of politicians careers and bank accounts.

        Reply
        • We do not know their IQs. To assume their “social station”, vaguely implied in the photo, relates directly or indirectly to IQ is patently absurd. Is that a demonstration of your IQ KG? Is IQ determined by what you percieve as “good looks” or something?

          I use “society” in the sense I use “societal” elsewhere. To be specific that is: the public and private economic sectors of a socio-political-economic system or ‘society’.

          ‘SOME’ jobs are the result of entreprenuerial individuals …

          You may be right about all this mostly benefitting politicians careers and bank accounts though?

          Reply
    • Mefrostate

       /  26th December 2015

      Are you aware that your psychoses have become so great that you’ve taken a post about the changing nature of the workforce and managed to twist it into recommending that the poor be “made to stop” having children?

      Reply
      • kiwi guy

         /  26th December 2015

        If you knew what psychoses actually was, you wouldn’t ask me if I was aware of it, LOL.

        Less drop kicks around, less welfare spending. The tax savings can go into research and development.

        So you like to use the euphemism ‘poor’ to cover up for Good for Nothings and Dindu Nuffins.

        Reply
        • Mefrostate

           /  26th December 2015

          So to be clear on your position, you support sterilisation of the poor (eugenics)?

          Reply
          • Klik Bate

             /  26th December 2015

            @ mefro

            As I understand the term ‘Eugenics,’ which has been practiced from as far back as Ancient Greece, it means measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization of people deemed unfit for reproduction. Such people included criminals and deviants, people with severe mental or physical disabilities, or people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests.

            Nowhere have it seen it to include sterilisation simply because someone is poor.

            Reply
            • Mefrostate

               /  26th December 2015

              The term would certainly apply to such a policy, whereby ‘being poor’ would be the characteristic by which a person was “deemed unfit for reproduction.”

    • The bigger drain on the taxation coffers is corporate welfare. Interested to hear what you have to say about children of corporate parasites. Wife beaters? Environmental polluters? Alcoholics? Keen for you to ladle out the prejudices evenly to both sides of the trough snufflers.

      Reply
  2. kiwi guy

     /  26th December 2015

    Reply
    • Nelly Smickers

       /  26th December 2015

      @ KG

      If they are in fact Sextuplets, that must have been one HELL of a party 🙂

      Reply
      • kiwi guy

         /  26th December 2015

        LOL

        Reply
      • kittycatkin

         /  26th December 2015

        When KG sees two people with about twenty small children walking in two lines, he probably thinks that they are an unemployed couple with a huge family rather than two teachers taking a class on a trip to somewhere.

        Reply
    • @ KG – Think of England KG!!!

      England needs these offspring to counteract the flagging birth rate of a developed economy. These youngsters are the future workers – or workers in obeyance – tax-payers and consumers. The necessary units of production and consumption (not really humans at all but let’s not go there today).

      The future “diversity” of the nation.
      Maybe a future Wayne Rooney or Alicia Keys in that line up?

      Reply
      • Nelly Smickers

         /  26th December 2015

        @PZ

        Although more than likely, a future Ian Brady, Margaret West, Donald Neilson, Colin Ireland, Ian Huntly or Myra Hindley in trhat line up 😦

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  26th December 2015

          no chance of a super crim like leaders of the free world Blair and Bush and co then!

          Reply
          • @ Blazer – “super crim like leaders”? I doubt it because most of them come from certain higher stratas of society. It’s a class thing.

            However, there are clearly examples of world leaders – though maybe not especially important ones – who come from sole-parent families, make good in the business world and are then groomed for “free world” leadership, having proven themselves worthy of “club” membership.

            So yeah, I guess one of those little ‘tykes’ might rise up out of the projects to become the first ‘black’ or West Indian or Pakistani Tory leader of the United Kingdom?

            Reply
  3. Boxing Day, so I guess anything goes huh?

    “It is not an economic system, however wrong or reprehensible in itself, which is to blame for our situation. It is the degradation of man, the reduction of his labour to the status of merchandise” (Warner, 1944)

    In an ideal world the alternative is the complete separation of labour and wage.

    Before you scream “socialist” and fire the silver bullet “communist” at me, I recognise that there may be no ideal world ever or it may be very far in the future. I also don’t know exactly how the ultimate separation of labour and wage can be accomplished, or whether it is completely desireable.

    There is a lot to be said for individual private enterprise. It is no mistake this is the predominant economic force in the world. Its popularity means we have arrived at a mixed “capitalist with social responsibility” system that might be said to be still in its infancy? Certainly it’s having “teething” troubles as it evolves?

    I therefore maintain that the ‘alternative’ for the foreseeable future is a similarly mixed system of free enterprise “capitalism” – often the cooperation of capital and labour (if only they’d recognised it) – operating upon a foundation of ‘separation of labour and wage’ – which is presently expressed as the idea of Universal Basic Income or UBI.

    What I’m saying is: The necessities of a decent life (tertiary rights?) will be provided by everyone for everyone, after which you can earn however much you like at your chosen business, profession, occupation or chosen forms of varietal (legal) income generation and, hopefully, everybody pays the same tax rate for the privilege of living in such a society.

    Properly instituted, such a 2 tier arrangement will mean a vastly more equitable and superior system of taxation and redistribution. It will please neither anarcho-capitalists nor true ‘hard-line’ socialists, because it is neither, and arguably neither is viable anyway. Instead it will rationalise the current ill-defined mixed system as “social-capitalism” (or some such more accurate title)

    “Work is an inner commandment, a moral duty joyfully practised. It is the true expression of personality, a testimony to one’s own being, the fulfulment of joy in creation and ability. What a wealth of human endowment may at some time be developed in this way!” (ibid)

    Reply
  4. “It is clear that work and life are pretty much inextricably linked together”

    I suspect Incognito may be speaking facetiously, but still, when you think about it, this is an extraordinary thing to say. The imagined work-life division in our lives is most likely a product of industrialisation and therefore about 250 (max) years old? I wonder if people even thought about it in the ‘olden days’?

    “When we conceptualize work and life as opposed states—something to divide our precious minutes and hours between—it sets us up to live an unbalanced double life”

    http://www.fastcompany.com/3046781/why-you-should-forget-work-life-balance

    Reply
  5. “Labour have been putting a lot of effort into their ‘Future of Work Commission’”

    I’m not a very political animal, especially where party politics are concerned – it being an expression of the herd instinct – but I definitely commend anyone or group or party who is seriously investigating and researching “the future of work”.

    Just letting things run as they are is only going to enhance the inevitable crisis in this realm when it comes. And the less this “realm” is compartmentalised as being ‘work’ somehow dissociated from ‘life’ the better. The more ‘wholistic’ we can get about these things, the more likely we are to remedy many wider associated, intrinsic, indivisable issues.

    Reply
  6. Kevin

     /  26th December 2015

    The only thing that creates real jobs is demand.

    Reply
    • @ Kevin – and the only thing that creates demand is really advertising …?

      You seem to have such faith in some things: Our law enforcement and judiciary; old-school absolutist economics of scarcity, supply and demand; the prevalence of ‘common sense’?
      I envy you.

      Old school economics is in a most terrible double-bind nowadays. It can’t promote (essential) economic growth and (desireable) sustainability in the same breathing space. There isn’t enough scarce ideological oxygen for both to survive.

      Orthodox Economics: damned if it grows, damned if it doesn’t.

      And yet there’s these crazy ideas of post-scarcity economics or abundance – stacks of stuff online about this –

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-scarcity_economy

      http://www.pieria.co.uk/articles/the_economics_of_abundance

      http://www.geo.coop/blog/seven-key-elements-economy-abundance

      and, of course, Mises Institute, that powerhouse of anarcho-capitalism, has a much anticipated, typical response in which they hack off their own left leg in order to prove they’re not right wing and that the talking-head is still functioning as per usual, “Lord Keynes’s theories started from the correct insight that the regular cause of extensive unemployment is real wages that are too high”.

      https://mises.org/library/economics-abundance

      Reply
  7. Come on Pete. This is a fairly pedestrian description of the way things are. And hardly an imaginative treatment of how things might be.
    How intellectually numb do you have to be to state that employment and unemployment are necessary sides of the same coin and then move on to the equally banal “money must be earned”?!
    For goodness sake. With such a rich history of political and economic thought available I truly hope this is symptomatic of too much xmas pudding or one too many xmas eve g&t’s – rather than a misguided journalist thinking they are engaged in serious discussion. This is NZ tho so I fear the latter.

    Reply
  8. Alan Wilkinson

     /  26th December 2015

    A job is just doing something someone wants and is willing to pay you to do it. So it is limited only by your imagination, effort, skill and salesmanship. Unfortunately the people with all four of those attributes well developed are rather rare. Hence the dreaded inequality develops rapidly in a free society so the socialists intent to make the future of work as limited as possible.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  26th December 2015

      yes look at say Jenny Shipley for example…a primary school teacher who is now Chair person of a public listed company on a 7 figure salary.This is proof that it is not who you know ,rather its what you know….um…oh hang on ,have I got that…right! 😉

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  26th December 2015

        So you think you can become a Prime Minister with no skills or know-how? Probably not.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  26th December 2015

          you maybe right….I think many of our top sports people could have succeeded in politics!Lomu would have been a great P.M! Manny Pacquio,Klitschko and so on prove I guess that all skills are transferable to and from the political arena…then look at Reagan,Bush,etc…they could all run a public listed billion dollar enterprise without a doubt.Joh Bjelke Peterson was in power for many years..obviously had a broad skill set.

          Reply
          • Klik Bate

             /  26th December 2015

            ‘Lomu would have made a great P.M!’

            BWAHAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAHA!!

            C’mon Blazer, surely that is a Boxing Day wind-up?

            One of the main criteria, is that you can at least string two words together. 🙂

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  26th December 2015

              thats for big Al the builder…not sure he understands …irony…few with his sentiments..do.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  26th December 2015

              I understand you, Blazer.

    • @ Alan – “A job is just doing something someone wants and is willing to pay you to do”

      This is true, in an ideal anarcho-capitalist world which will never exist, just like an ideal socialist world will never exist either.

      Your statement shows a high level of conformity to an ideology of absolute individualism.

      Many people ascribe to this during peacetime and then ascribe to its exact opposite during major regional or global wars and truly major, catastrophic natural disasters, when it becomes “necessary” to collectivise, albeit temporarily.

      However, in a mixed social-capitalist system there are many other factors operating. You can in fact get a job, for example in the public service, paid for by the taxpayer, which someone has decided is needed and whose department is willing to pay you to do. Indeed, you might get a consultancy job conducting a feasibility study regarding the necessity and methodology of conducting research relating to the perceived need for such a job.

      This may look to some people like a way of covering up “unemployment”. It may be the fact there isn’t enough tasks someone wants you to do and is willing to pay for doing to employ everyone, no matter what. It’s a possibility at least?

      Another element in the equation is conformity. A fascinating subject in itself, like popularity.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformity

      Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms.[1] Norms are implicit, unsaid rules, shared by a group of individuals, that guide their interactions with others. This tendency to conform occurs in small groups and/or society as a whole, and may result from subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  26th December 2015

        I think you’ve talked your way over the cliff. Government jobs fall within my definition too. That they are provided by a politician or bureaucrat with someone else’s money doesn’t exclude them.

        Reply
        • That is true, but I don’t think it negates the validity of several points in my elaboration about the phrase “A job is just …” There was a double-row fence at the top of the cliff, it’s strands being “freedom of speech” and useful, constructive discourse.

          “imagination, effort, skill and salesmanship” are neither doled out equally by nature nor equally encouraged by our education system. I think it was at least implied in yours that these are entirely the responsibility of the individual? Perhaps I’m wrong?

          I’m happy to be wrong in the furthering of positive discussion.

          Regards “Hence the dreaded inequality develops rapidly in a free society …”
          By the same token, or more accurately, the same definition of “free”, a free society is surely free to attempt to ameliorate such inequality? This does not make those who do so socialists necessarily, or possibly at all, in my opinion, or their intention “to make the future of work as limited as possible”.

          I believe the 2 tier “free enterprise” and “citizens dividend” system I outlined above will expand the possibilities of work, possibly greatly.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  26th December 2015

            A good education system should help individuals to develop the four key ingredients I mentioned. However for those who lack most commonly imagination and salesmanship others must provide these – whether in the private or public sectors. Usually the rewards will be discounted accordingly as the job providers and risk takers reward themselves.

            The other leg to the discussion is the ability of those with wants to pay for your work. In poor communities where nobody works there are lots of needs but no resources to meet them. I expect that is a familiar situation in your area.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  26th December 2015

              but where does money/capital come from…and who allocates it?It is not aligned to Gold or any productive measure.It is a construct,a transfer of artificial ‘credit’ created on the whim of private central bankers.When you accept this fact your whole arguement disintegrates ,because it is based on an illusion ,inside a fantasy wrapped in delusion.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th December 2015

              No, Blazer, money just measures what already exists: the ability of your customer to provide value in exchange for your work. Using barter instead of money illustrates the problem is independent of the monetary system.

            • @ Alan – “In poor communities where nobody works there are lots of needs but no resources to meet them … a familiar situation in your area”. You posed it as a blanket assumption rather than a question, however I’ll treat it as the latter.

              I see you also exaggerate for effect. I cannot decry this because I do it myself.

              I’d like to see you tell in person the teaching staff of the local kura, the health workers, the forestry guys, the logging truck drivers, the many local tradesmen, entreprenuers of various kinds and artists et al ’round where I live they “don’t work”.

              Of course, I guess farmers don’t fall into the category “nobody”? We have our share over here in Western Unimaginative Nothingland.

              Or likewise you could tell the many people who in the absence of paid work or their ability to find or undertake “paid employment” – the very zenith of human aspiration and achievement – who do vast amounts of incredibly worthy and important unpaid community work, that “nobody works” in their “poor communities”. That they lack imagination and salesmanship and that the iniquity they “feel” is simply their inability to provide jobs and take risks.

              These people are often the very resources that meet the needs. They make up for economic ‘scarcity’ with an abundance of human character, community spirit, neighbourliness, DIY attitude and selfless energy such as to mock your statement out of hand, if indeed they would even gave it a second thought.

              And what a terrible drain they are – the unimaginative, indolent, skill-less and unsalesmanly (by your standards) – upon the economy, doing odd things like maintaining the vibrancy of small towns and villages for people to travel to and through, stay at, dare I say “experience” (in a very real sense) and come home to, or encouraging a burgeoning arts industry or keeping a church open where recovered artifacts are visited by 6000 Roman Catholics (I’m told) each year. It does not matter which of these things “pay their way” or are KPI numerically, bottom line ‘viable’ either. They are all part of the fabric of the communities over this way.

              You must surely understand that “absolute individualism” is not pre-ordained by God or Nature or any other force in the universe. It’s just the product of minds like Murray Rothbard’s.

              People and indeed whole ‘peoples’ have existed and do exist who harbour more collective sensibilities. Are they all fools?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  26th December 2015

              Yes, you do exaggerate for effect, as well as using anger as a substitute for analysis or indeed an avoidance mechanism.

              Yes, there is a lot of unpaid work and some paid work. So what are the local jobs that your teachers prepare their children for?
              Who are the people that can afford to pay others to do things for them? Why do you think the Government needs to provide jobs there?

            • I stand here, out in the open, listening to your own bullets, the catch-cry “socialist” and your various “substitutes for analysis or indeed avoidance mechanisms” whizz past and richocet off things, in the sure knowledge none of them will strike me. I believe this is your projection Alan. I reckon you are talking about yourself.

              “The dreaded inequality in a free society”. By the same token, or more accurately, the same definition of “free”, a free society is surely free to attempt to ameliorate such inequality?

              I believe the 2 tier “free enterprise” and “citizens dividend” system I outlined above will expand the possibilities of work, possibly greatly.

              I know its going back a ways, but would you care to analyse and/or respond?

              I can’t go into your questions in great depth right now. “What are the local jobs”? Suffice to say, all the industries I mentioned previously, health, education, primary industry, welfare, trades, tourism, some secondary industries e.g. honey, retail, creative arts and, I think, a significant component in future will be Maori Development.

              “Who are the people who can afford to pay others”? I fear you can’t seriously be asking this? The answer is “those who can afford to pay”. Workers, beneficiaries of an inheritance, people who qualify for additional assistance on benefits … I don’t know … people who can afford to pay.

              “Why do I think the government needs to provide jobs there”? I can’t really see where you got the idea I am saying this? I guess if I had to argue it I would say, because the wealthy, including many government bureaucrats, are ultimately the beneficiaries of the rural depopulation, concentration into Auckland, low wage and under-employment, prescribed unemployment et al characterised by neoliberal economic policy and that – to exaggerate – if you get rich by making someone else poor you should give a little back.

              Or maybe I’ll just say, damn it, I should never have said “I’m happy to be wrong”. Big mistake on my part.

  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  26th December 2015

    PZ, your 2-tier economic system is essentially a reverse taxation welfare system. It’s problems are that it can’t be funded long term, it won’t provide the comfortable lifestyle people want and it will be abused and destroy incentives. The dream has been around for a long time – I first heard of it about 40 years ago – and all attempts to implement it have failed.

    Rural depopulation is a direct consequence of lack of jobs and opportunities for young people in these areas. The RMA is part of the problem but there are many others. Fanatical environmentalism is an underlying cause. So are the ghastly Maori land laws and their destructive operations. A common theme is the destruction of individual property rights. Doing anything becomes impossible.

    Reply
  10. @ Alan – regards UBI here’s a very good article from the guardian,

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/10/finland-universal-basic-income-ubi-social-security It concludes –

    “Outside the confines of the thought experiment, UBI needs to be made much more like existing social security to be feasible. But the thought experiment might also lead us to conclude that existing social security systems need to be much more like UBI to be equitable and efficient” (I like that and it has made me think hard)

    I agree with your general implication that the situation is a mess. I think we need to address the reasons for lack of jobs and opportunities for young people in rural areas. I also think we need to address our definitions for “jobs” and “opportunities”. E.g. some seed funding to encourage ‘social enterprise’? Given that a percentage of youth are receiving unemployment anyway, would it be such a terrible thing to pay them an additional say $50 – $100 a week to undertake a combined ‘community work & incentive building’ program?

    “A common theme is the destruction of individual property rights” I’ve got to admit to not knowing much about “ghastly Maori land laws, the RMA and fanatical environmentalism” I suspect some people see all environmentalism as fanatical? (I’m not saying you do).

    But your “common theme” assertion has a bit of an ‘Edward Gibbon Wakefield’ ring to it mate. I can’t help thinking this. The same old assumption that individual property rights are ordained by God and are “the only true God”. This underpinned colonisation, the Maori Land Court and our general conversion of communal ownership into individual title designed to sequester land off Maori (when we didn’t simply confiscate it).

    I might assert instead that all property rights, no matter how individual or communal, were originally and are essentially taken and held by force, usually force of arms? We have a police force to protect property and person. Individual property rights as we have them now are pretty good, reasonably ‘civilized’, although they won’t necessarily suit everyone. One way of looking at local government is as it being a (distorted) expression of our human need to ‘commune’. It makes sense to do some things en masse?

    A lot of Maori Land over my way, if it is not being farmed or in reserve, is planted in monocultural pine forest, much of it now on its second growing cycle. I gather it is mostly Maori Trusts and Corporations developing it, sometimes with overseas investors involved perhaps? Is this not the kind of development you had in mind?

    I wish they could (or would) do something with the logs right here in North Hokianga, or somewhere in Northland – creating more employment and adding value – rather than ship them off to Port’o’Whangarei for export in their raw condition.

    Reply

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