Working towards a poverty free utopia

Having a fair and equal-ish society is a good ideal to aspire to, but it’s difficult and complicated.

Poverty, and things like health, housing and education inequalities are not just things that money can fix, whether it be Government money used to try to fix problems, or income level;s for individuals and families.

Things like drug and alcohol abuse, family and public violence and sexual abuse are often intergenerational problems that can’t be quickly or easily fixed.

But of course we should try to better – our government should, or society should, our families should.

What is achievable?

Rod Oram at Newsroom: How to solve our paradox of poverty and plenty

Just taking money off people with plenty and giving it to people with relative poverty is not going to work, even if politicians tried  – they keep moving in that direction, but only so far.

Now we have an economy that fails to pay many a reasonable wage or meet their material needs; that is driven by unsustainable debt, production and consumption; that rapidly degrades our ecosystem on which we depend, as documented by Environment Aotearoa 2015, the Government’s first comprehensive evaluation of our ecosystem.

On our current trajectory, all those will get worse. But again, we are not alone. Those are the characteristics of the global economy, albeit we give our own expression to them such as the rapid expansion of dairy farming and international tourism.

In the future, should we choose, we can have an economy that provides a high standard of living in financial and physical terms, in deeply sustainable ways; and we can do so in ways that make sense for who we are as a diverse nation founded on Treaty of Waitangi principles, for the nature of our land and oceans, and for our destiny as a distinctive, tiny country in a teeming world hungry for inspiration and innovation.

Oram is not a politician, nor is he, I presume, someone suffering from significant deprivation or poverty. he’s more of an academic keyboard solution writer – but still worth reading.

Seven big shifts are needed

Raworth lays out seven big shifts we need to make:

  • From defining progress as GDP growth, which is an exceptionally narrow economic metric that excludes social and environmental outcomes, to defining it as “meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet.”
  • From narrowly defining the economy as a self-contained market, to seeing it embedded in, contributing to and dependent on society and the ecosystem.
  • From fixating on the “rational economic man’ to appreciating and responding to the diversity of human behaviours which include inter-dependence, reciprocity, and adaptability to the people and circumstances around us.
  • From simple supply-demand equilibrium in markets to the dynamic complexity of economies, societies and ecosystems.
  • From the flawed hope that growth will reduce inequalities to ensuring all people share in the means of creating wealth and receive their fair share of the rewards.
  • From believing growth will enable us to clean up the mess we’ve made to redesigning our use of natural resources, our products, service and economies so they contribute to the regeneration of the ecosystem.
  • From addiction to endless growth to creating economies that thrive and deliver for people and the planet without necessarily growing.

Many of us Kiwis want to progress, as do billions of other people around the world. We want to be wealthier in all senses of the word, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. But we know we won’t achieve those reasonable goals by working the way we do now.

In everything we do we need to ask ourselves how do we work with nature not against it?

Working better with nature is just a part of what we need to do.

Poor people tend to concentrate on surviving, getting by day to day as best they they can, and tend to not worry too much about greater ideals.

You can take a poor person to the supermarket, but you can’t make them buy only healthy eco-friendly products with no plastic.

Oram has a number of suggestions about farming, urban design, energy and forestry. He concludes:

We cannot take for granted our urgently needed transformation. It requires us to achieve an unprecedented speed of change, scale of change and complexity of change we have never come within cooee of before. To do so, we have to be a confident, ambitious, learning and inclusive nation so everyone can contribute to and benefit from becoming deeply sustainable.

Sounds ok in theory. Has he got a magic wand?

Changing some things at an unprecedented speed may be good, even necessary, but it won’t be without hardships and adverse effects and unintended consequences.

Above all three attributes are essential to us a nation: common sense of what we need to do, common purpose as to how we will do it, and common wealth from sharing the rewards widely.

I wonder what Oram is doing about it other than writing.

As grand as Jacinda Ardern’s ambitions sound (to some) there is no sign of the current Government coming close to following Oram’s pathway to Utopia.

There is Paradise in New Zealand, but it’s in the remote Dart Valley, beyond Glenorchy at the head of Lake Wakitipu.

https://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap/nz19517/Paradise/

It won’t be easy getting us all there and living happily together.

Leave a comment

51 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 5, 2018

    Oram is an opinionated Lefty bore.

    Reply
    • Ray

       /  August 5, 2018

      Yes, just another pommie windbag who has never actually achieved anything.
      It is worth going back over his past opinions to see just how wrong he has been guessing what might happen.
      Basically “If I was made dictator or chief CEO I could change everything “.

      Reply
  2. Pink David

     /  August 5, 2018

    ” It requires us to achieve an unprecedented speed of change, scale of change and complexity of change we have never come within cooee of before. ”

    As soon as he comes up with some actual details of what all this change actually is it might be worth reading, but this is just pointless fluff.

    Reply
  3. Gerrit

     /  August 5, 2018

    Yep, the setting of the end goal is easy, the construct in terms of transitioning from here to there is very rarely alluded to.

    Maybe Ardern, armed with ALL the recommendations from the 100+ committees, can set up a glorious 5 year socialist plan to attain the Oram dream.

    Reply
  4. PartisanZ

     /  August 5, 2018

    “Oram is not a politician, nor is he, I presume, someone suffering from significant deprivation or poverty. he’s more of an academic keyboard solution writer – but still worth reading.”

    If he’s “still worth reading”, why say the other stuff about him?

    A Rightie Stag emerges from the camouflage of the word forest …

    And why brand it a ‘Utopia’ and, by implication, Oram a ‘utopian’ …?

    … And sounds his rutting roar …

    The Wakefield brothers started ‘The New Zealand Company’ with precious little detail … like having actually or reasonably acquired the land their suckers … sorry … settlers … were going to settle on …

    It’s a damned good article … “Set your goals and plan actions to achieve them” say Righties all the time about their ‘productive and efficient’ business ventures … exploitative and eco-damaging though they may be …

    Conservative estimates have it that we are already using the resources of 1.6 planets.

    If everyone was to enjoy the Standard of Living of the average New Zealander we’d need 4 planets …

    The “pointless fluff” and “dreams” is the *PAP* PG has obscured Oram’s article with … presumably for your target audience PG?

    *CRAP* like, “I wonder what Oram is doing about it other than writing.”

    What the fuck are any of us doing about it other than writing …!!!???

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  August 5, 2018

      What we are doing is exactly what our leaders are doing…nothing.much

      Why?

      Our leaders are “do as we say, not as we do” practitioners. How many practice what they preach? Al Gore pretenders that lot of them.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 5, 2018

      Conservative estimates have it that we are already using the resources of 1.6 planets.

      That’s rubbish. We are not even using the resources of one planet because it is heating up rather than cooling down. The primary resource is energy and there is plenty of it. Everything else can be made from it.

      Reply
      • I don’t know what you mean by things being made from energy, but was surprised to read about our using up the planet’s resources so drastically. How was this worked out ? It would be a massive survey.Or is it scaremongering ?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  August 5, 2018

          Ultimately in physics: E=mc**2

          But in chemistry and engineering production of desired outputs depends on energy inputs. Hence agriculture and manufacture have the same requirements. Every “sustainable” resource cycle depends on energy to power it.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  August 5, 2018

            I failed Science at school….

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 5, 2018

              To be fair most journalists have little grasp of science or economics and come from political, law or arts backgrounds.

            • PartisanZ

               /  August 5, 2018

              … commonly referred to by Alan as “the Irrelevances” …

              We wouldn’t want anything ‘social’ creeping into economics, would we?

              It’s not about people …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 5, 2018

              Medicine is about people too but do you want politicians or lawyers doing surgery?

            • PartisanZ

               /  August 5, 2018

              No comparison …

        • Pink David

           /  August 5, 2018

          “How was this worked out ?”

          It was just made up. It’s just a rehash of the laughably wrong Limit’s to Growth. That book was profoundly wrong in 1972 and it’s still wrong today.

          Reply
    • Pink David

       /  August 5, 2018

      “If everyone was to enjoy the Standard of Living of the average New Zealander we’d need 4 planets …”

      Here is a simple check for you;

      There are more people in the world now than ever before, yet they live better than any humans have ever lived.

      The more people there are, the more resources there are available to them. The evidence of this is all around you and you are too blind to see it.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  August 5, 2018

        nonsensical argument….’There are more people in the world now than ever before, yet they live better than any humans have ever lived.’

        http://www.theworldcounts.com/counters/global_hunger_statistics/how_many_people_die_from_hunger_each_year

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  August 5, 2018

          Most of those dying from hunger are really dying from destructive government and/or war.

          Reply
          • PartisanZ

             /  August 5, 2018

            … wrought upon them by colonization and corporate-capitalist-political neo-colonization …

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 5, 2018

              Usually ethnic and/or religious conflicts fed into politics.

            • Gezza

               /  August 5, 2018

              Well, not in Yemen. That’s a civil war with ISIS, Saudi & Iranian proxy wars going on concurrently. Trump & May & other Western capitalist arms sellers are happy to arm them all but so are the Chinese & Russians. That’s religion & geopolitics. Phillipines Insurgency, that’s Islam. Myanmar Rohinga ethnic cleansing that’s ethno-religious. A lot of African wars are just tibal i.e.ethnically-based. Wherever Boko Haram & Al Shabab are at war with each other – it’s fundamentally religious.

            • Gezza

               /  August 5, 2018

              Wherever Boko Haram & Al Shabab are at war within the goverments of their states – it’s fundamentally religious.

              Many African governments suffer from corruption because their democracies are tribally based & gifting & betowing favours to & by the leaders have been part of the culture. So it’s not seen as corruption by everyone but just how things are done. It doesn’t transpose well into systems that aren’t meant to be ethnically tribally based.

            • Blazer

               /  August 5, 2018

              ‘Many African governments suffer from corruption because their democracies are tribally based & gifting & betowing favours to & by the leaders have been part of the culture. ‘

              the Old Boy Network in cultural ..dress.

        • Pink David

           /  August 5, 2018

          Funny that that site has this counter which you seem to have missed;

          http://www.theworldcounts.com/counters/global_hunger_statistics/statistics_about_obesity

          Reply
  5. Blazer

     /  August 5, 2018

    the solution is reform of the banking system,and Sovereign Govt control of the money supply.

    A fairer ,decet society should be our aim.

    None of us is as smart..as ..all of us.

    Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  August 5, 2018

      I agree. Money should essentially be an expression of (what we currently misreference* as ‘human capital’) and be issued by the governance body or ‘state’ freely elected by the humans who elected it …

      Hence the essence of the issue is the FORM or ‘Constitution’ of that governing body … (along with the education of the humans who elect it) …

      After functional practicalities are sorted out, some or much of the unfairness and indecency in our society would disappear automatically … because they are ‘driven’ by the present-day form of money … and its supply …

      Reply
  6. PDB

     /  August 5, 2018

    Oram: “to defining it as “meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet.”

    That’ll work – defining it in such broad terms as to be totally meaningless. Would suit the govt though who seem to be removing as many measurable goals/yardsticks as possible, or making impossible goals (zero road toll for example) that will never be met.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  August 5, 2018

      aspirational targets are a legacy of the prior administration…don’t be such a ..pessimist…!

      Reply
  7. It may seem like a tangent, but we have all heard of people being given a chance to be well-off and blowing it. Two people I knew had their house bought by the government because it was damaged by subsidence, and instead of buying another one they went on overseas holidays and spent I don’t know how much of the house money. They are now retired and still renting.

    A Lotto winner on a sickness benefit squandered every cent in order to keep on the sickness benefit rather than investing it and enjoying an income far above the benefit.

    When there was a major redundancy in mining, the miners were given a large amount as a redundancy payment. Many bought or paid off houses, some blew the lot on things like holidays.

    Reply
  8. David

     /  August 5, 2018

    Not sure why Oram gets such a platform the guy hasnt said anything interesting or insightful in 15 years, might be the pommie accent.
    The simple solution to all these things is capitalism, its dragged hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and the cleanest countries in the world environmentally are capitalist countries because the have the resources and desire to live in a clean environment. There you go Oram feel free to plagarise, its not hard or complicated.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  August 5, 2018

      oh the absolute irony!!

      ‘The simple solution to all these things is capitalism, its dragged hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and the cleanest countries in the world environmentally are capitalist countries because the have the resources and desire to live in a clean environment’

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 5, 2018

        Truth is always ironic for the Left.

        Reply
        • PartisanZ

           /  August 5, 2018

          … and absent for the Right.

          Reply
        • Blazer

           /  August 5, 2018

          read it and…

          ‘Predatory lenders modus operandi is to target unsophisticated,poor,gullible people and offer them goods or services with onerous, interest bearing credit terms.
          Default results in penalties,reposessions and court orders for attachment to earnings .

          If you substitute ‘poor’ people for 3rd world nations,you have the template for U.S foreign policy since WW1.

          Disguised as foreign aid programmes, the target nations become indentured slaves ,and the only ones who benefit are the small, compliant ,political clique who are installed to oversee that corporate objectives are met.

          The investment money is diverted to the Western corporations..engineering,building coys etc and the benefits accrue to them,not to those who are supposedly going to benefit from better living standards.

          Private equity and behemoths like Bechtal,Haliburton,Carlisle make obscene profits for their shareholders while the lot of the poor hardly changes at all.

          Contrary to being the ‘Police man of the world’..the U.S through the CI.A ,Military,sanctions and various proxy agencies enforce the doctrine.

          Any opposition is overcome with intensive demonising of any popular opposition ,and invasion as occurred in Panama,Grenada,Iraq,Guatemala and numerous other countries.

          Strategic regions and valuable resources must be controlled by the West.

          All in the name of freedom of course.

          Democracy is good if it is the ‘right’ kind of democracy.

          Iran,Chile,Ecuador,Panama,Venezuela and others had the temerity to have the ‘wrong’ kind of…democracy.

          Wonderful world…beautiful…people.

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  August 5, 2018

            “Private equity and behemoths like Bechtal,Haliburton,Carlisle make obscene profits for their shareholders while the lot of the poor hardly changes at all.”

            Bechtel’s operating margin is 2-3%, Halliburton have lost money for the last couple of years and Carlyle make just $100m odd per year. None of them are in any way making ‘obscene’ profits.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  August 5, 2018

              cherry picking…private equity do not have to declare their group profits to the public.

            • David

               /  August 5, 2018

              Careful with those facts my pink friend, they can be somewhat inconvenient.

            • Pink David

               /  August 5, 2018

              “cherry picking…private equity do not have to declare their group profits to the public.”

              They are the ones you cherry picked. If their profits are not public record how exactly do you know they are ‘obscene’?

            • Blazer

               /  August 5, 2018

              because the payments they received from the U.S Govt are on record…how they slice and dice the revenue/profit equation to satisfy critique is quite subjective,.

  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 5, 2018

    Meanwhile, the man the Left love to hate is actually delivering what they profess to want:
    https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/ibd-tipp-poll-media/

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  August 5, 2018

      the old firm’….debt..

      Dissidents were tortured or bought off, ministers stole entire budgets, government atrophied. The West allowed his regime to borrow billions, which was then stolen and today’s Congo is still expected to pay the bill.’

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 5, 2018

        Wrong place?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  August 5, 2018

          right place…wrong..time.’ capitalism, its dragged hundreds of millions of people out of poverty’

          Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 5, 2018

      Media Ignore Minority Boom

      Contrary to what the media tell you, this time those with low incomes and minorities are participating in the growth.

      For instance, the jobless rate for those who lack a high school diploma is now at its lowest level ever. As for those who want to work full-time but can only find part-time work, their rate is the lowest since 2007 — the month the 2007-2008 economic crash began.

      Latino and Hispanic workers’ unemployment rates stood at 4.5% — an all-time low. Meanwhile, at 6.6%, African-American unemployment now equals the third-lowest rate ever. Minority workers are participating in this boom as never before.

      And all workers are seeing gains from working, with average hourly earnings rising a solid 2.7% for a second-straight month.

      There’s one big reason for this: President Trump’s policies of tax cuts, deregulation and plentiful energy have revived the growth spirits of our economy. Some day, even our mainstream media friends will understand this fact.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 5, 2018

        Damn. Hate this phone copy paste. Only intended the last section.

        Reply
        • From there?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  August 5, 2018

            Thanks, Pete, that’s about it. There are quite a few things on Android that don’t work nearly as well as my old Windows phone.

            Reply
        • PartisanZ

           /  August 5, 2018

          Actually Alan … that IS interesting …

          A shade troubling for a Looney Leftie but nonetheless interesting … (Believe it or not I’m capable of living with both sentiments) …

          We were alerted to take note of this though: “Keep in mind that anything over 50 is optimistic; under 50, pessimistic.”

          This’ll have to be changed if we want to progress. Did Oram say anything about this?

          Let’s dissect: Presumably, a fairly complex set of questions capable of being extrapolated into a spectral or continuum index – say of 1-to-100 – were asked of 900 people … and the result is a 50/50 First-Past-the-Post dichotomy we’re told to judge as EITHER “optimistic” OR “pessimistic” …

          … and the results all end up near enough to 50/50!

          Either the cup is half full … or it’s half empty …

          The “direction of country” index “surged 13% to 50.1” …

          Well … That’s great! It’s nice to have a positive “surge” every now and again, isn’t it?

          But its actually 0.1% or one tenth of one percentage point “optimistic” … and just two-tenths of a point shy of “pessimistic” …

          … and what’s a perfect 50/50 score called?

          I give you exhibit A …. so-called ‘democracy’ as we presently understand it …

          We can’t possibly be heading towards ‘idiocracy’ …

          It can’t get any dumber than it already is …

          Reply
          • PartisanZ

             /  August 5, 2018

            Yep, one way or another, pretty much every one of Oram’s seven points touches upon the inaccuracy, inexactitude* and rigorlessness*, if not self-deception, of applying simplistic EITHER/OR mentalities to an incredibly complex world …

            Reply

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