US ‘flawed democracy’

The Economist Intelligence Unit has finally acknowledged that the US has a flawed democracy.

Declining trust in government is denting democracy

AMERICA, which has long defined itself as a standard-bearer of democracy for the world, has become a “flawed democracy” according to the taxonomy used in the annual Democracy Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister company. Although its score did not fall by much—from 8.05 in 2015 to 7.98 in 2016—it was enough for it to slip just below the 8.00 threshold for a “full democracy”.

The downgrade was not a consequence of Donald Trump, states the report. Rather, it was caused by the same factors that led Mr Trump to the White House: a continued erosion of trust in government and elected officials, which the index measures using data from global surveys.

Trump’s presidency is a consequence of their flawed democracy, not a cause.

It joins France, Greece and Japan in the second-highest tier of the index.

democracyindex

USA was already near the flawed threshold before slipping under it:

  • 2006 – 8.22
  • 2008 – 8.22
  • 2010- 8.18
  • 2011 – 8.11
  • 2012 – 8.11
  • 2013 – 8.11
  • 2014 – 8.11
  • 2015 – 8.05
  • 2016 – 7.98

Top of the ‘full democracy scale’:

  • Norway – 9.93
  • Iceland – 9.50
  • Sweden – 9.39
  • New Zealand – 9.26
  • Canada and Ireland – 9.15
  • Australia has slipped a bit to 9.01

All democracies are flawed, but they are less flawed than the alternatives.

Leave a comment

104 Comments

  1. Patzcuaro

     /  27th January 2017

    The US system seems to have become very politicised or maybe always has been.

    Rather than appointing the best legal minds as Supreme Court judges the
    President appoints someone who has the same beliefs as they do. How can the judiciary be independent if it is appointed by the executive and confirmed by the Senate.

    Whereas we have a non partisan committee which oversees the redrawing of electoral boundaries, in the US it is very much at the whim of the party in power. The party in power then gerrymanders the outcome to their best advantage.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  27th January 2017

    The Economist has become a Lefty rag. The socialist says you should trust the Govt. The libertarian says you shouldn’t. The Economist says democracy is good if you trust the Govt.

    Reply
    • David

       /  27th January 2017

      It’s been a lefty rag for decades.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  27th January 2017

      No the Economist says if the Government is good you can trust democracy. You sometimes get these things backwards because of taxes.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  27th January 2017

        You need to study up on dependent vs independent variables.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  27th January 2017

          Absolute rubbish. Details later.
          And don’t whinge about having to wait – I have to have a power nap.
          And we ALL know whose fault that is. 😡

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  27th January 2017

            I’m not waiting. I’ve already dismissed your answer because you failed to do your homework.

            Reply
    • Kevin

       /  27th January 2017

      Well Trump won the electoral college by a landslide and only missed out on the popular vote by a fraction – and this despite not going for the popular vote. And some how democracy in the US is broken???

      Reply
      • You’ve very succinctly explained precisely why it’s broken Kevin … nicely done!

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  27th January 2017

          The Federal Government is granted limited powers by the Constitution and otherwise by default all powers belong to the States and not vice versa. That’s why the States elect the President and not the people.

          Reply
          • The amount of people who don’t understand that the US system is by design to preserve the importance of all states in the federation is stunning. Its all my side lost, the system sucks and needs to change.

            Reply
      • PDB

         /  27th January 2017

        Trump spent far less per vote than Clinton so in a lefty world Trump wins 2-1 then?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  27th January 2017

          I wonder if this fiasco will make people question the Electoral College system and demand a fair one where the majority’s votes are the ones that count.

          Reply
          • No kitty, just n o. The system is there to allow each quasi independent state to have its voice heard on the election of a President – not to have those voices washed away by having one candidate dominate in 2 states and then impose those two states desires on the rest of the country.

            its a FEDERATION of States – each state is able to manage its own affairs bar a few that are given to the POTUS and Congress to exercise on a national basis.

            The system is very fair – it just didn’t favour hillary this time because too many states decided she was unfit to be their President…

            Reply
            • ” … the electoral college encourages political campaigners to focus on a few so-called “swing states” while ignoring the rest of the country.

              Populous states in which pre-election poll results show no clear favorite are inundated with campaign visits, saturation television advertising, get-out-the-vote efforts by party organizers and debates, while “four out of five” voters in the national election are “absolutely ignored”, according to one assessment.[111]

              Since most states use a winner-takes-all arrangement in which the candidate with the most votes in that state receives all of the state’s electoral votes, there is a clear incentive to focus almost exclusively on only a few key undecided states”

              = FLAWED DEMOCRACY …

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)#Criticism

            • Listen – I hear the cry of angry man…..

              YAWWWNNNNNNN… another booooring social democrat aka authoritarian control freak complaining because a well known, tried and true democratic system didn’t produce the result they wanted – no the result they DESERVED.

              The nation wide vote in a FEDERATION OF STATES [I thought I would shout – it might penetrate your thick skull] is irrelevant. Its state by state – Hillary listened to her sycophants in New York and Cali… and forgot the little people the “deplorables” in the Rust belt and the fly over states of the mid west…

              OOOPPS big mistake – because their votes counted – even though Hillary chose to ridicule, marginalise and belittle them. And they shoved it right in deep just below the sternum and killed her hopes in an evening…

              Quoting whining democratsfrom the US means zip Parti boy… absolutely zip.

            • A couple of problems with this dave1249 –

              1) Hillary winning wasn’t the result I wanted … nor did I think for a moment I deserved it. I was a Bernie Sanders supporter throughout.

              2) My comment you are RANTING about does not mention the nation-wide vote. Guess why dave? It’s not about the nation-wide vote, that’s why. Its self-evidently about the electoral college system in the Federation of States.

              3) Consequent to 1) & 2) above I am not angry in the slightest.

              You however, evidently are …

            • Bernie? bejesus you’re more addled than I thought…

              OK you win nationwide vote is a side issue…. but here is the thing. State by State Hillary didn’t win. State by State Bernie got absolutely nowhere….his own party didn’t want Bernie, in fact the knifed him – and then the whimp went and grovelled at the COnvention and backed the nasty cow who knifed him. Yip that Bernie is a man of principle.

              And the whole “flawed democracy” thing is another weak meme conjured up by lefties to basically say “we was robbed” when the fact was state by state the left was rejected. Their ideas where rejected. Their candidates were rejected. And it wasn’t just Trump it was all over the place – and the mid Years have far more Democrats up for re-election – if trump gets his jobs programme right then the Dems and their leftie supporters world wide, including in Northland, may have real bitter tears of anger to choke nback..

              Its interesting when a democratic system returns a result the dictatorial left like – its democracy in action and the people have spoken. When it doesn’t we need a better system, flaw democracy, the media lied, the opposition lied, its the deep state robbing the people……

              Seriously it is incredible humourous…

              And who is dave1249? not some one I know Josef Broz….not some one i know

            • Who’s Parti Boy dave1492 …?

              “and then the whimp went and grovelled at the CONvention and backed the nasty cow who knifed him” = Flawed Democracy …

              The Two Party System = Flawed Democracy …

              If Trump gets his jobs program right, without being based on increased military spending and associated militarism, a la Reagan, and building The Wall – and other ‘walls’ real and symbolic – I’ll celebrate along with all the newly employed Americans … a whole new generation of Archie Bunkers … here we come …

            • the us is not a two party system.. Greens and Liberterians garner millions of votes between them.

              Bernie groveling is nothing to do with flaw democracy Parti – all to do with Bernie being a creature of his party and making sure he gets his cash flow secured…. your hero – just another leech on the public purse

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  28th January 2017

              It’s bollocks. 3,000,000 more people said that she was the president they wanted. Trump knows it’s unfair, or he wouldn’t be bawling about how he really had the popular vote. Nothing will convince that a system that can override the votes of 3,000,000 people is a good one. Why bother to have an election at all, if 3,000,000 voters can be disenfranchised ?

            • Oh suck it up Kitty. Them was the rules of the game and that’s the way it goes.

              All the post fact whinging and whine is the demonstration of a very bad loser.

              Mrs Clinton knew the rules, decided to insult a bunch of crucial voters and reaped the whirlwind by losing States voted for Obama.

              A poor candidate favoured by 19 of the 50 States plus DC should have been POTUS? You are joking….

              Enjoy the next 3 years, 11 months and 3 weeks of Trumps presidency Kitty… hope he gives you fur balls

              Oh and by the way your criticism is similar to me saying NZ didn’t want Helen Clark as PM because the total votes cast against her party was high than 50% – based on pure totaling of votes its factual, but under the rules of the NZ electoral system it would be carping and whining… As much as I disliked her – Helen was a LEGITIMATELY Elected PM of NZ…

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  28th January 2017

              It wouldn’t surprise me if Trump didn’t see out his term. His manic gibbering about the illegal voting shows his real nature-not that this wasn’t obvious before.

              He can’t stand it that more people wanted NOT to have him that were moronic to WANT to have him. Poor loser.

            • I hear a baby babbling…… no its a kitten whining for attention or a bowl of milk…. best you attend to that Catkin…

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  28th January 2017

              Well, if you can’t tell the difference between those two, I would suggest a hearing test as soon as possible. And if you are hearing either coming through your computer, I would suggest that you see a psychiatrist.

            • I don’t know Kitty one noise was emanating from your words and was distinctly human whining, the other was emanating from your avatar and was distinctly immature and feline….

              Twas my imagination that done it – it was I swear superior Kitty creature…..

              I believe it was my sub conscious making an excuse for your rather puerile Trump attack via the vector of whining about results when the method of result calculation was agreed between the contenders before the race commenced… often you are quite sensible Kitty but right now you seem to be channelling a beam of light or mayhap a blaze thereof

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  28th January 2017

              Er, no, neither my words nor my avatar can be heard. One is printed letters and one is a photo-printed words and photos do not make sounds. Anyone who thinks that they can hear either of these is in serious trouble.

            • Oh dear Kitty – you normal edge is blunted – I said imagination – you know one of the core human qaulities the J Raulston Saul has written extensively on…..ethics, reason, intuition, imagination, common sense, memory…

              I was just exercising my imagination – my you are a very literal feline aren’t you. Imagination and metaphor escaping you this fine day? And you such a wide and deep read of classics

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  28th January 2017

              You are quite capable of really hearing things, alas. Claiming afterwards that it was imagination is too little, too late. Meshuggenah.

            • Real things are real things Kitty. Whinging and whining about “its unfair” when the rules of the game are set and agreed by all parties – because you don’t like the outcome demonstrates your incapacity to absorb reality – you are not listening because the people spoke and a choice was made.

              After hearing the tired its not fair meme and its a broken democracy and its a flawed democracy for the umpteenth time leads me to believe I am dealing with children and in extremis, babies….. hence the put downs around whining baby or kittens

              American has a system that we in NZ find odd – but it has historical context and was DESIGNED to balance out States place in a federation. Frankly the US is probably a hell of a lot better off with out whacko Libertarians and Greens having power – we see how obstructionist the Greens in NZ can be

  3. Corky

     /  27th January 2017

    Wow, these Sherlock’s have just worked out America is a police state. Liberals need to be careful. Trump wont hesitate to call in martial law if thing start turning pear shape. When American citizens are looking out from detention centres, a flawed democracy wont be the first adjectives that comes to their minds.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  27th January 2017

      You think Lefties aren’t hitting the gun sales fairs like nobody’s business right now?

      Reply
  4. David

     /  27th January 2017

    Liberals are suddenly interested in gun rights.

    Reply
    • Anonymous Coward

       /  27th January 2017

      This is why the entertainment industry is stacked with those on the left, right wing comedians just aren’t funny.

      Reply
  5. David Waller

     /  27th January 2017

    There seems to be a correlation between most democratic and least corrupt countries.

    Over at Kiwiblog there is a post of the least corrupt countries which include NZ, the Scandanavians & Canada which are all in the top ten most democratic.

    There is also a correlation between the most authoritarian and most corrupt with the most corrupt countries which include Somalia, South Sudan, North Korea, Syria & Yemen all being at the authoritarian end of the spectrum.

    Sunlight is a great sanitizer.

    Reply
      • “Wweeeeeeeeell” I hear Elizabeth Montgomery saying as Samantha in ‘Bewitched’ … Isn’t the Herald also a ‘Lefty Rag’?

        If that’s an essay by a doctoral student of communication studies then we have cause for concern about ‘communication’ …

        What he’s saying is, “I tend to agree with the first statement “New Zealand is corruption-free”, rather than the second “New Zealand is full of hidden corruption””.

        He then cites a long-ish list of corruption that has actually been exposed in New Zealand, including the Saudi Sheep Deal which can never escape the conjoint labels ‘corruption’ and ‘cover-up’ IMHO …

        So what he’s actually saying is that New Zealand is quite corrupt, although we can proud of our position as “least corrupt”, despite the fact hidden corruption may indeed be rife …

        “A nation’s resistance against corruption is rooted in the values of a society … ”

        Hence, increase in corruption over recent years is rooted in the corrupted values of our society?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  27th January 2017

          You could argue that a significant cause of your last postulate is that immigration has introduced some bad values into our community.

          However, I think if you went back to the days of socialist import licencing you would find just as much blatant corruption as now.

          Reply
          • No Alan … YOU can argue that immigration has introduced some bad values! Go right ahead …

            I’d rather argue that neoliberal ‘globalisation’ itself has forced more immigration upon us, in some bizarre reciprical arrangement with selected nations – producers of cheap goods and/or cheap or ready-qualified labour – [saving us the cost of training our own] – while simultaneously holding down wages & salaries, over-regulating working conditions and enveigling an exaggerated ‘competition-on-price alone’ (“Never mind the quality … “) contract mentality into most dealings, perhaps especially those in the public works and public-private partnership sectors …?

            Simple example: Roger Douglas [and successors] handed Fay, Richwhite, Gibbs and a selected few others their ‘ticket’ to get mega-filthy-rich by selling off the family silver belonging to their fellow countrymen & women … & children …

            Your hated “import licencing” is replaced by friendly-nation ‘stacking’ of central, local government and industry jobs – particularly in the upper echelons – resulting in a complex, veiled web of corrupt intrigue running through policy-making, advisory, decision-making, accounting, contractor and regulator ‘collusion’ …

            Meet the new boss Alan … NOT the same as the old boss …

            Immigration is a mere symptom of the very cause you promote.
            You forfeit your right to complain about it as far as I’m concerned.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              That’s just silly, PZ. NZ has been a land of immigrants for ever and you have been complaining about those who landed ever since 1800. It’s a bit late to blame Roger Douglas.

              However it does seem that very often NZ corruption cases sheet home to introduced cultures that put family first or expect corruption. Either better vetting or education or both seem necessary.

            • You said it originally Alan, not me … “immigration has introduced some bad values into our community.”

              So now you’re saying you meant “throughout our colonial history” …?

              Well, yes, all along it has introduced some bad values into our community …

              But I think in this case we’re both talking about fairly recent immigration and should just face up to it: Post-Pacific Island immigration.

              We’re talking about the immigration which began with Rogernomics and globalisation, which progressively diversified the source countries for our immigration, which progressively looked for ‘investor immigrants’, which takes skilled white people into skilled employment, while it takes skilled brown & black people and makes them taxi drivers and dairy owners; and which included such phenomena as ‘White Flight’ from South Africa and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe … [Peter’s] Asian invasion … and now the twin baddies of Chinese property investor on the one hand and Middle Eastern refugee benefit bludger on the other …

            • I suspect for most Maori people corruption has been rife since 1840 or earlier … Since colonisation became apparent …

              By such standards of systemic or institutionalised ‘racist’ corruption Aotearoa New Zealand would never even come close to “least corrupt” nation on earth …

              We’d be well down a First Nations’ list of corrupt countries …

              I guess we’d be able to say we’re ahead of Australia and the United States though … ?

            • Gezza

               /  27th January 2017

              Skilled brown and black immigrants are getting jobs in the same skilled occupations as white people with the ssme skills PZ. What’s required is compatible standards of education & training, & English language ability.

              The doctors driving taxis fiasco is long past but that did result from the notion that checks didn’t need to be made they could practice here because being skilled, they’d check that out themselves with the relevant certifying authorities before they immigrated, or the employers did.

              Better to leave that out of it.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              Far too much silliness in that rant to bother with, PZ.

            • @ Gezza – To hell with “Better to leave that out of it”

              “What’s required is compatible standards of education & training, & English language ability.”

              Why let them into the country at all then!? And … Or … Why don’t they have jobs already arranged before they arrive …

              Immigration in New Zealand stinks like rotten fish, can’t you smell it?

              It reeks of corruption … IMHO it reeks of the corruption pulsing through the thrombotic veins and occluded arteries of the entire system …

            • Gezza

               /  28th January 2017

              “Why let them into the country at all then!? And … Or … Why don’t they have jobs already arranged before they arrive”

              I think most of them do. My suggestion is drop the white man skilled fulla get betta treatment meme. It’s wrong.

              They DO have to have English language skills & qualifications which are compatible with NZ standards & recognised by the competent supervisory authority or professional body here. Sorry if that was not clear.

              Other issues with immigration certainly need better managing. I don’t think it’s resourced enough overseas & therefore relies on the integrity of local agents in countries where integrity is often just not there, fake quals & documents common etc.

              Late enuff 4 me. Good night PZ.

      • Pickled Possum

         /  27th January 2017

        @Al
        Meanwhile back in the real world of Hidden NZ corruption.
        Rodney DC where corruption started and overflowed to AT.
        I have been watching this with interest and accordingly the corrupt guilty culprits will be sentenced next month. Probable outcome Home D.
        Sometimes these smart fellows just out smart themselves.
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/87366665/Guilty-verdicts-in-Auckland-roading-corruption-case

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  27th January 2017

          Far too common in local govt I’m afraid………it’s not what you know but who you know.

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  27th January 2017

          NBR’s Kathryn Scherer has been ferreting out the corruption in the roading contracting industry, Possum. I think this case was just the tip of the iceberg judging by what we see everywhere we drive.

          Reply
          • There goes our No. 1 rating eh … ?

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              Probably not. Depends on the competition.

            • Gezza

               /  27th January 2017

              Privatisation, Al – this is what happens when ravenous businessmen & their shareholders see opportunities in the infrastructure market. Why shouldn’t we re-establish Council & state operations like the MoW – make sure they’re run efficiently?

            • Make sure they provide employment for New Zealanders WHERE the employment is needed too Gezza …

              Hence, they might even be run ever so slightly inefficiently ….?

              Its only the same thing Trumpy’s doing! And WE LOVE TRUMPY!!!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              If Councils and bureaucrats can’t even contract efficiently and honestly what makes you think they can do the whole job themselves?

            • PDB

               /  27th January 2017

              Just need to tighten up on spending and have the necessary checks in place. Councils are hopeless at managing anything and the costs of various infrastructure projects would skyrocket if the Council tried to undertake themselves.

            • Gezza

               /  27th January 2017

              Pukeko poo Al. Gotta go visit the rest home now PZ. Give him heaps.

            • Gezza

               /  27th January 2017

              Watch out for PDB. He’s a thinker.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              Hope the guests get a safety briefing when you arrive today, G.

            • Gezza

               /  27th January 2017

              I let someone else win the crossword quiz. By popular demand I then whipped the blue half-size guitar out. Gave them a rousing 7 minute multi rhythm strictly guitar blues bash, then launched into a rousing rendition of Walking The Dog, followed by The Joint Was Rocking, Like A Rolling Stone, Memphis Tennessee, settled them down with Little Wonders, Have You Ever, & Pieces Don’t Fit Any More. Finished up with Get It On (Bang a Gong) & the ladies went wild. Staff had to restrain them for MY safety! Have more bookings. Dunno when I’ll get time to practice though when *some people* keep one up all night.

  6. “All democracies are flawed, but they are less flawed than the alternatives.”

    They are less flawed than the alternatives to democracy, but not less flawed than alternative or improved forms of democracy. ‘Full Democracy’ today should not rate 9.93 or 10 out of 10, since the best extant democracy we have is no ‘Bo Derek’ … not a 10.

    @ Patzcuaro – Despite “a non partisan committee which oversees the redrawing of electoral boundaries”, Chris Trotter asserts the vagaries of FPP [+ some legislation] meant that for many years the ‘farmers and employers’ vote gave a notable advantage to the ‘Conservatives’, United/Reform then National Parties …

    @ Alan (& David) – Your standard or default response to any media reportage that you don’t agree with … The entire media entity must have become ‘Lefty’ …

    Is there no limit to the power of the Left to infultrate, invade, permeate, overtake and commandeer institutions and corporates, including all-important media corporations who, in some fantasy Rightie past, were all totally unbiased and impartial …?

    It must be terrifying for you?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  27th January 2017

      It has, but my point was specific to the illogic of its Lefty blinkers.

      Reply
      • And yet this subterfuged, treacherous, unpatriotic ‘Lefty’ media, product of Cultural Marxism’s “long march through institutions”, can’t convince voters to even vote Left much less elect a Leftist government?

        The people aren’t influenced by this media …
        They hold-out using their own innate intelligence … Remember the Alamo!

        And how does this Lefty media acquire all its advertising revenue from the overwhelmingly or at least majority Rightie populace …?

        It raises conspiratorial questions like: If Rupert Murdoch and other media magnates are NOT Lefties, which they clearly aren’t, why do they employ and allow all this Lefty leeway from their journalists, which ‘taints’ the very media they own and ‘control’ … ?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  27th January 2017

          The good ship MSM is sinking due to falling subscription and advertising revenue. I suspect the consequence is the best journalists and editors have retired or found new careers and the remainder are not up to the challenge of proper crap detection.

          Reply
      • @ Alan – ” … the illogic of its Lefty blinkers”

        Okay, so how about pointing out this “illogic” rather than simply deriding it as ‘Lefty’?

        I can’t see the illogic …

        Reply
        • What looks illogical to me is a so-called ‘democratic’ Presidential election system that expends billions upon billions of dollars on just finding a candidate for each of two utterly entrenched Parties! Then billions more on getting the chosen [or not chosen] candidates elected … but not by popular vote … rather by a bizarre and opaque, potentially corruptible ‘electoral college’ system …

          This may have been great in the halcyon ‘George Washington’ days when the American people trusted their ‘statesmen’ … but the politicians have fucked-over that trust so many times the people have long ago lost count … from JFK to Kent State to Watergate, from contra deals to WMD’s after 9/11 … itself a dubious occurrence …

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  27th January 2017

            It worked pretty well for a long time. There is no requirement for people to trust their politicians and arguably they are safer if they don’t so long as they have the right to get rid of them quickly when they wish.

            Reply
          • Forlorn hope for ‘flawed democracy’ is rekindled afresh in each generation of U.S. citizens though, by methods of indoctrination perhaps not all that dissimilar to what America’s greatest enemies supposedly use …

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              Yes, the US doesn’t do sophistication much. They have a tendency to argue with bullets. However their separation of powers is a saving grace so long as the Feds can be kept in check.

            • How can their separation of powers be a saving grace if it leads to so little sophistication and a tendency to argue with bullets Alan?

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  27th January 2017

          “I can’t see the illogic … ” That’s what Lefty blinkers do.

          Before you claim to have proved something, check you didn’t assume it when you started.

          Reply
          • You didn’t answer my question. I assert Rightie Evasionism …

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              I did point it out in my original comment. The Economist assumed good government = socialist government.

            • Tenuous at best Alan … based on your own derogatory definition of socialism. Democratic socialism in no way implies more trust in government than libertarianism does … No ‘should’ about either of them actually, trust or distrust … due to the ‘democracy’ component of both …

              So you are assuming authoritarian dictatorship and socialism are the same? You’re wrong!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              Of course socialism reveres the Government and trusts it to do everything and decide everything. That is the core of its philosophy though it dresses it up as “community responsibility”.

            • Okay, so you are talking about authoritarian dictatorship, not democratic socialism, and therefore you are wrong …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              You “democratic socialists” so love spending capitalists’ money but hate them earning it.

            • No, only redistributing a portion of capitalists’ money they’ve earned via lack of community responsibility Alan …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              Not true. First, you don’t want them to be allowed to do anything the State used to do. Second, you need them to fund everything you want the State to do.

            • No, everyone who pays tax funds what everyone who elected a democratic socialist government wants the government to do …

              I favour either graduated tax or flat tax strictly enforced, so that those who currently avoid it, the higher paid, can no longer do so …

              In the kind of ‘socialism’ I’m talking about – post neoliberal democratic socialism – free & responsible enterprise remains as it did throughout our Social Security years … [I may have fallen into your trap of incorrectly using the word ‘socialism’ for brevity’s sake] ….

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th January 2017

              There was no free and responsible enterprise during the socialist years. There were protected and hopelessly inefficient and uncompetitive businesses relying on high prices our farmers got in the post war boom.

            • I have actual personal experience of “free and responsible enterprise” during those years Alan … so you’re talking crap as far as I’m concerned …

  7. Anger with the elite is so visceral people would rather vote for a narcissist and brash realtor than a Hillary Clinton – that lifelong, paid-up veteran of the political establishment.

    In both Brexit and Trumpism you saw people moving away from the insidious creep of bureaucracy and federalism. Look at the protagonists the West over – Trump, Sanders, Farage, Le Pen, Wilders, afD All of the aforementioned people/groups are unapologetic and forthright – plain speaking. They’re not “having a dream”, “a vision”, they’re talking about getting things done and putting the brakes on. Despite government’s decrees and unilateral decision making voters seem to have been clinging on to core values of what they believe constitutes their idea of their society and values. Rightly, or wrongly a binding thread seems to be anger at the manner in which “tides” of migrants have entered their realm as problematic.

    People are also sick of it being assumed that if you don’t think like them you’re a thug. If you don’t hang on every Obama word, if you’re not a Merkel sycophant or a Euro federalist you must also hate blacks, gays, minorities, women, the unemployed and refugees. With this meme is the one that they are privileged. As one of these privileged people you bear responsibility for all the problems in society. Nothing “marginalised” people inflict on society are due to their own failings. Any poor choices, any lapse of judgment they make, their lack of aspiration or ambition, antisocial nature and even their criminal lifestyle is all your fault.

    Mr/Mrs/Ms ordinary person, just wanting to work, pay their bills and taxes, have a small holiday once a year and live peacefully, are over it. When they voted BREXIT and for TRUMP they called time, and said enough of this – at least for the moment.

    Reply
    • Do people seriously think Trump is NOT an elitist? Narcissist and brash realtor are coincident to elitist, not exclusive of it …

      So Mr/Mrs/Ms America and United States LGBT “ordinary person” is going to benefit from Trump’s public works schemes, The Big Long Beautiful Wall and increased military spending (plus tariff protected industry) …

      … and, of course, they’re going to pay for them too …

      Will this significantly change the core dynamics of the flawed democracy and its attendant flawed economy? E.g., federal jobs prop up flawed neoliberal capitalist economic model by hiding systemic under-employment/unemployment … employment export … the precariat … poverty … inequality …

      Will anything much change? ………… Nope!

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  27th January 2017

        The elite don’t seem to think so, PZ.

        Reply
        • I don’t think he’s shifting corporate elites Alan … At best I think he’ll shift a few elite political corpses …

          Reply
      • Unlike you PartisanZ Mr ad Mrs Ordinaire don’t have the luxury a crystal ball. They have hope more than certainty.

        They too however, are cynical, but they’re prepared to take a huge punt on changing things up – putting the proverbial cat among the pigeons. Obama’s inclusive rhetoric hinted at including them, but heir apparent Hillary’s undisguised contempt reminded them that if you weren’t in the born-to-govern Dems circle you were, bluntly one of the “deplorables”.

        Hard to imagine such scorn and opprobrium in one sentence. That’s who she is – and she reminded the good people in the electorates she badly needed, that she meant them.

        Reply
  8. @ Alan – “If Councils and bureaucrats can’t even contract efficiently and honestly what makes you think they can do the whole job themselves?”

    Because they used to Alan. Because they did in the past. 30+ years of globalisation has embedded a new breed of them, unrecognisable from their predecessors … Black Widows compared to Cabbage Browns … Scorpions as opposed to Bees …

    A different calibre of councillor and bureaucrat altogether … Today many of them are part of the ‘enmeshed web’ along a spectrum of corruption … much of it ‘legitimized’ aka ‘global business’ …

    @ PDB – ” … the costs of various infrastructure projects would skyrocket if the Council tried to undertake themselves.”

    That must be how we got the roading network built in the 50s, 60s, 70s & early 80s PDB? Along with hydro-electric projects, an electricity grid and et al infrastructure … ?

    In reality I think you’ll find prices have skyrocketed since the Advent of your Precious Saviour Sir Roger Douglas and His Disciples …?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  27th January 2017

      It’s hard to compare backwards in time because the levels of bureaucracy and regulation are orders of magnitude different and costs have escalated accordingly. My expectation would be that whereas the private sector struggles with these, the public sector would merely wallow in them – unless and wherever it took its common course of action and merely exempted itself. Note that exemption from the worst of the RMA has allowed Chch homes to avoid Auckland price escalation despite the unprecedented demand following the earthquakes.

      Reply
    • PDB

       /  27th January 2017

      “That must be how we got the roading network built in the 50s, 60s, 70s & early 80s PDB? Along with hydro-electric projects, an electricity grid and et al infrastructure … ?”

      AT what cost though? I’d suggest it would have been cheaper if they went to open tender.

      Try doing those same projects today ‘in-house’ starting from scratch and they wouldn’t have any hope of being cheaper, not to mention the risk falls 100% on the taxpayer. Obviously economics isn’t your thing PZ.

      Reply
      • PDB – If they’d gone to open tender back then, the main outcome would have been all the problems associated with ‘the Contract Economy’ and ‘Market Society’ would have arrived in NZ that much earlier …

        Do you mean risk like BNZ, Air New Zealand and the Railways PDB, to name a few?
        Or Finance Company bailouts …?

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  27th January 2017

          What ‘problems’?

          You mean this great country we now live in that is ranked the least corrupt in the world? Are you talking about the country currently ranked no. 1 on the Legatum Prosperity Index? Or are you referring to the country that is ranked no. 1 for doing business? Maybe you are referring to the country that was one of the first Western countries back into surplus? The very same country with a booming economy?

          Your ‘problem’ is that you continue to paint New Zealand as some sort of Neo-liberal paradise today when instead we have a mixed economy featuring components of both left and right. The current National govt sits pretty much in the centre – too ‘left wing’ for the far-right whilst too ‘right wing’ for the far left.

          The country was going down the economic gurgler fast in the late 1970’s/80’s due to Muldoon’s socialist agenda & stubbornness, the very same period you refer to as the golden years……….

          Reply
          • I absolutely DO NOT refer to them as the golden years PDB … but quote me doing so if you wish …

            What I’m saying is that they were good years in some ways, perhaps in many ways, and particularly in respect of doing public things such as infrastructure PUBLICLY … and including more public necessities as infrastructure … notably electricity and telephone communications …

            They were also years in which private enterprise flourished, I know because I grew up in a family of such flourishing enterprise …

            So, does your Legatum Prosperity Index take race relations into account? Does No 1 for doing business apply “across the board”? Is there a level playing field? [What a piece of propaganda work that was from Roger eh?]

            Presumably you’re talking about trade surplus? This doesn’t cover gross external debt – 100.7% of GDP in 2014 – or public debt – 38.4% of GDP in 2013 – though does it? Are we surplussing our way out of debt yet?

            I agree we have a mixed economy featuring components of both Left and Right, but I feel it now eminates from a Right-Wing starting point, the result of Rogered-nomics, Ruthanasia and the imposition of a FIIRE economy …

            In other words, the goal-posts have been shifted … New start line … At the sound of the starter’s gun, the rich go Right and do a hundred yards dash … the poor go Left and run a marathon …

            The country with the “booming economy” is going down the social gurgler fast in the 20-teens …

            I exaggerate, of course, I always do.

            To hell with it. Okay, I admit you’re Right. Everything is perfectly okay here. Perfect. Couldn’t be better. I’ll let you get back to your echo chamber …

            BYE …

            Reply
            • PDB

               /  27th January 2017

              Private enterprise flourishes now PZ, you’re so out of touch with the NZ of today it’s not funny…….consider yourself FIRED.

            • Oh FFS PDB, do I have to spell everything out word-for-word …

              Yes, private enterprise flourishes now as it did then, though with slightly different parameters perhaps …

              Private enterprise ALSO flourished back then …

              Now … What can you find to misrepresent in that comment?… Let me see … ?

            • “A level playing field” …

              Oh Sheesh, I almost vomited recalling this propaganda coup de grace. This spoonful of poison-sugar that helped the Rogered-nomics medicine go down … and how we slobbered over it and slurped it up …

              As if a first world country with commensurate social and capital values, business regulations and labour protections can compete on a “level playing field” with a third world or developing nation where people are entirely expendable – rather than partially as they are here – land &/or factories are cheap as chips, business largely un-or-under-regulated, if not downright corrupt, and labour little more than modern indentured workers or slaves …

              For this “level playing field” we gave away around 80,000 jobs directly involved in manufacturing, and another approximately 80,000 supporting these industries …

              More fools us eh?
              Now Trumpy wants to get America’s manufacturing jobs back …

            • PDB

               /  28th January 2017

            • Cheers PDB … back at ya … “Crime of the Century” …

  9. Lesa4life

     /  28th January 2017

    The democracy is flawed but the fracture between the “Two Sides” makes it so hard for people to focus on what is being done. People have been criticising the electoral college for years. I wasn’t to happy about trump but I now I am resigned to see this though. If he does mess up we will deal and do our best to fix it. On the flipside he could do some good. The way our government is run does need to be tuned up but that takes time and understanding. People call the right stuck up, religious crazy people and the left is called out of control SJWs. Both side do have extremes but so many people simply just refuse to talk through things and come up with a plan to fix what we can. Some even support and demonize depending on what the “Other side” likes and dislikes.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous Coward

     /  28th January 2017

    California makes moves to secede from the US.
    Yes California Independence Campaign has 180 days to collect 585,407 signatures that will enable a place on the Nov 2018 ballot. Considering over 8 million voted for Hillary in that state it won’t be hard.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11790598

    Reply

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