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The economy is a monster


What a lot of fuss is made about costs to the economy, when the economy is simply a measure of costs! GDP is measured by prices, not products, so it's really Gross Domestic Price. Of course the National Party opposes a new Matariki holiday, another day of not sacrificing to the Great God GDP.

Never mind that two generations ago the shops were shut on 72 days of the year, in the era when there was no unemployment, a family could live on one income, and everyone could get a house. The Great God was very much smaller then, but more benevolent.

Never mind that Auckland businessman Andrew Barnes increased labour-productivity by switching to a four-day week; that economist David Graeber estimated British “bullshit jobs” to be about half of all employment, propping up each other without producing anything; that retailers at home tend to ruin public holidays by turning them into sales excuses.

Never mind quoting Brett O'Reilly of the Employers and Manufacturers Association. Was he the illiterate who spoke on TV1 news of lost “productivity,” when he clearly meant “production”?

It's time to recognise the economy for the monster it is — one that cannot stand still. It's time to stop blaming Covid-19 for the painful losses of jobs and businesses. Covid is the catalyst, not the cause. Doing nothing should cost nothing, but unfortunately when you try to have a lockdown the monster, producing nothing of real value, keeps gobbling up its pet foods: rates, rents, and especially interest.

Of course, laid-off workers must be paid, but as citizens, not as workers, some getting 10 times more than others. If the Green Party guaranteed income scheme had been in place, it would have kept everyone fed more cheaply and fairly than the business subsidy scheme.

It's great to see Labour picking up on a policy the Greens have already announced — raising top marginal income taxes; and one the Greens have long promoted — a Matariki holiday. This typifies the excellent working together of the two parties, in the first successful coalition government since MMP started 24 years ago.

Gavin Maclean

Leave a Reply to Perry Anderson Cancel reply

  1. Perry Anderson says:

    Well said Gavin