Monday, March 19, 2012

Maori Economy Updates...

Latest from Google alerts. I'm wary and increasingly weary when this so-called economy is pitched as the 'dynamic engine-room of the national economy'. Means our land, waters and resources are on the radar yet again, and not for our benefit.

Iwi organisations boost Maori economy - panel
Radio New Zealand
The Maori Economic Development Panel says the responsibility for substantially boosting the Maori economy, currently worth $37 billion, doesn't just lie ...
Submissions sought on Maori economic document
Radio New Zealand
The Government appointed panel charged with developing a national economic strategy and action plan for Maori, is seeking submissions on a discussion ...
No word on fish farm revival plan
Northern Advocate
Mr Yates said the Maori economy had become the dynamic engine-room of the national economy and he asked whether the Parengarenga Inc trustees had presented ...
Port workers' whanau add economic value
Maori Party Co-leader and MP for Tamaki Makaurau, Dr Pita Sharples, called for the ... to the Auckland council and the regional economy," said Dr Sharples.
Mayor calls for minds to open on mining matters
Bay Chronicle
"In West Australia, where many of our young people have gone, 77 percent of the economy is mining based. Maori groups, who are keen to get their young ...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A la Recherche du temps Holocaust

Somewhat taken aback by the rapid growth in hits on my recent posting on the terminology of Taranaki colonisation history and the use of the word 'holocaust', I've since been reading on the life and times of one Claude Lanzmann.

Among various exploits which include fighting in the French Resistance and shagging Simone de Beauvoir (mind you, a big club, de Beauvoir that is) he's going down in history for his film, Shoah, 9 1/2 hours of taped interviews of holocaust survivors, witnesses, perpetrators, and neighbours.

'Shoah' is what the Jews call the Holocaust, Shoah being their word for their experience, opening or at least leaving 'holocaust' for others such as Taranaki Maori. Just a thought.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Maori Economy: A Zizekian Analysis

Familiarising myself with the thoughts and writings of Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian-born philosopher with an endearing speech  impediment of the slushy kind (Lucky he's not one of the several seditious scribes from Caesarea...). For Zizek, contemporary capitalism has privitised so much of what Marx called the 'general intellect' (i.e., general knowledge of all sorts) that more and more workers are becoming superfluous. He sees old-school capitalists as having been submerged into salaried management, and earning more by a societal assumption (through pseudo-scientific 'evaluations') than their expertise actually qualifies them for (Tony Maryyatt pay considerations for example). The huge salaries these elites command defines what we observe as income disparity.

In a recent LRB, Zizek runs through four features if current bourgousie angst.

1. Hierarchy
The hierarchy embodies lower social status while constantly articulating our inherent value, the nobleness of our drudgery. So we have tribal leaders, iwi elites, senior managers, cultural brokers and so on. Nice work if you can get...the rest of us are rank and file 'tribal members', beneficiaries, shareholders with shares oftentimes measured as very small fractions.

2. Demystification
Assumptions of a meritocracy are scotched by our experiences of social struggle. Politics pervades all decision-making (I'm in the midst of Leeston RFC team amalgamation and coaching dispute with Dunsandel. Think, Manchester City v. United...)   For Zizek this enables us "to avoid the painful conclusion that someone else’s superiority is the result of his merit and achievements." They're connected, but still wankers.

3. Contingency
There are so many variables - whakapapa, inside information, timing, collaborative support, institutional configurations, that "...our position on the social scale depends on a natural and social lottery; the lucky ones are those born with the right genes in rich families". Life's still a bladey lottery...

4. Complexity
We are not just buffeted but absolutely fecken bashed by uncontrollable forces with their unpredictable consequences..."the invisible hand of the market may lead to my failure and my neighbour’s success, even if I work much harder and am much more intelligent." Who'd be a wharfie or freezing worker these days! (they were prime jobs when I was younger). Engineer? Hey, some are breaking down on the stand as they recount their decisions killed people. Who's irreplaceable? Who can't be undercut by cheaper labour from offshore? Your flatscreen can crush your baby. So it goes...

Lots more of Zizek's work to digest. I've ordered one of his books, 'The Sublime Object of Ideology' (case in point, $25 via Fishpond, $40 in Unity Books).  

Simon Lambert

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