Probably stuck with the current system

A fascinating and very perceptive analysis by Danyl Mclauchlan at The Spinoff: The New Zealand Project offers a bold, urgent, idealistic vision. I found it deeply depressing

It covers neoliberalism, the failure of the left to sell their ideals and have a revolution, and looks at what can be done to fix New Zealand’s problems. It’s lengthy by there are many things worth discussing.

Politics is technocratic because modern societies are complex: many things could be better, but almost everything could be much, much worse, and all the high-minded values in the world are worthless if you can’t keep the lights on.

It is compromised because pluralism – the challenge of different groups in society holding different and conflicting but reasonable and valid views – is the central problem in politics, and cannot be fixed by re-educating everyone.

Political reform should be cautious, because outcomes are uncertain, and overconfidence bias is real, especially among groups of intelligent experts who reinforce each other’s assumptions, a dynamic that often leads to catastrophic failure despite the best of intentions.

Maybe the current system’s inability to address the housing bubble, inequality and environmental issues means we’re hitting the limits of a political system based on caution and compromise, and that will eventually provoke a wider crisis similar to the near economic collapse of the early 1980s, which led to the neoliberal reforms.

It’s a fairly common fantasy – especially on the radical left – that there will be a crisis followed by a left-wing rebirth.

It’s also common to see this on the radical right – there will be a revolution taking us back to some mythical ‘good old days’.

I think it’s dangerous to assume that the left would be the beneficiaries of any kind of crisis or collapse.

Same for the right.

We’re probably stuck with the current system, and trying to make change within it.

That’s almost certainly correct. Incremental change trying to improve what we have, rather than changing things entirely and replacing it all with some vague ideal.

We are probably stuck with the current system.

But it is a lot easier to tweak things to try to improve problems rather than a total replacement of something that generally works fairly well with something vague that would have unpredictable and less perfect.