Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why aren't we talking about revolution?

Given the major - dare I say seismic - shifts in the fault lines of the world's main economies, it is curious how quiet we are here in Aotearoa. Recent reports on children living in poverty were perhaps doomed to drown amongst the rugby following but I know rugby followers are not heartless. Homelessness? Mana Party has flagged this an a fundamental platform for the upcoming election, but the relevant policy has been Facebooked 4 times, Tweeted once, 'Liked' twice and Google +1's once (by me, as it happens. I got into Google +1 through a '+'ing by the Chinese dissident artist Ai Wei...): hardly a ringing endorsement. Slave conditions on Foreign Charter Vessels? I've had no conversations about it...indebted national accounts? well, plenty of chatter on but no ones' seriously pledging to stop this.

Front page of the Star Sunday Times quotes NZIER principal economist Shamubeel Eequb in undermining any justification for Aotearoans' being disgruntled: our wages are trending up (oh, bar the recession); wages doing better than corporate profits; unemployment not as bad as the 1990s (for Maori, it actually is much worse) or 1930s; inequality 'broadly stable'(yay). Eaqub says "The fight against the 'system' is not statistically justified in New Zealand. ... I haven't seen anything in the data that suggests massive increases in inequality or inequity."

As the numbers accrue and we see that yes, the rich have yet again become magically richer - those animal spirits, ne? - and the poor, poorer, do we all somehow assume that trickle down will kick in to preserve itself? And if not, how do redistribute wealth in the face of massive state and corporate structuring of ongoing and increasing inequality?

Recent protests - marked by the tactic of occupying financial districts - petered out here rather quickly, and the worst effects of the Global Financial Crisis are yet to strike. But if we aren't even talking 'bout revolution, then how do we secure bloodless change?

But an educated guess: not only will the revolution not be televised, it won't require statistical justifications.

'How to start a revolution'

'The Revolution Business'

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Simon Lambert

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