Saturday, January 09, 2016

Epsilon Theory

I've been reading a wide range of blogs this summer (such as Croaking Cassandra, linked in a previous post) and now am linking Salient Partners 'Epsilon Theory' which has focused on China, an important trading partner for the so-called Maori Economy.

The blog gives a nice line up of US pop culture quotes (lot of nods to The Godfather). This post n particular got me thinking... The Dude Abides.

"...if you don’t recognize that the growing concentration of global wealth within a tiny set of families is a big problem and getting bigger worldwide, you’re just not paying attention. No country in the world is more vulnerable to the political problems caused by wealth inequality and concentration than China."

We talk of this inequality all the time now but Salient's point is that while in the US, inequality can be interpreted as the system working - individualistic self-interest in a capitalist system - in a communist one-party state, extreme inequality (China has always had a mass of peasants) is counter to State legitimacy. 

I was musing on this in our own backyard, that is the increasing wealth concentration among the Maori elite (confession: I am in theory one of these elites, holding a PhD. Believe me, it ain't so w.r.t. income! I earn half what a good plumber can earn. And perhaps rightly so...).

The legitimacy of Maori elites is being undermined by the growing inequality that is a function of NZ neoliberal business models. (I would argue academics are not elites in NZ society in general although some Maori professors have some sway in Te Ao Maori, more so than their Pakeha peers). However, their situation is not one of survival as it is with Chinese elites where heads can and do roll, literally. 

Here's a thesis: Maori elites are protected by Pakeha elites as they are a necessary barrier to restless Maori communities. 

We get carrots from our own - 'Work hard, get an education, be like me', and we get sticks from Pakeha - 'If you don't work hard we'll punish you, if you don't go to school, we'll punish your parents, if you don't be like us, we'll mock you...'

Other Links:
The Maori Worldview and Policy (Ross Nepia Himona, 'Te Putatara')

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