Archives for posts with tag: corporate greed

Hi New Zealand,

National cares about you guys like soooooooo much. Not even kidding. I mean, I’m really relaxed about it, but we’ve been working for New Zealand heaps. You’ve seen me on the news working at denying allegations for New Zealand, working at falsifying crime stats, for New Zealand, working on loosening New Zealand’s labour laws for New Zealand, kicking people off benefits for New Zealand, ignoring scandals for New Zealand.

I think New Zealanders know that we really have New Zealand’s best interests in mind. I mean, when Paula Bennett gets the stats put to her about the number of people living in poverty who are also working (40% of those in poverty are working), compared to those on benefits, it drives her to look for ways to make changes, and drive even more people into working poverty. It’s just better that way — poverty we don’t have to pay for.

I think most New Zealanders agree with me when I say poor people should all get jobs. Because you’re 60 times more likely to be a poor if you’re not working. I know, because I am super good at maths, that’s how come I know that trickle down economics is pretty much the best kind of trickle that there is.
 

 

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And rich people are definitely the right people to run economies. No conflicts of interest have arisen at any point, and definitely not in my cabinet. Not at all. If you hear any different then it’s a left-wing smear campaign and it’s all lies and I don’t want to talk about it, but I’m probably still pretty comfortable about it, you know? (Also, maybe tax cuts? Yeah, you like that don’t you, New Zealand?)

Paula knows that the best thing for the poors is work, and that’s why we’re forcing them off benefits and into work. I mean, two or more jobs at unliving wages taxed higher than everyone else with one job is at least 40% better than being a poor on the benefit, that’s just maths and junk.

I mean, at least they get out of the house and away from those hungry children they’ve got.

(Also, possibly there’ll be tax cuts if we get the benefit claimants right down. Don’t worry about homeless people, they’ll mostly be living in people’s garages where you can’t see them, and your local councils will ban the ones who turn up outside Smith & Caugheys smelling funny and making you feel uneasy and guilty about buying things — you have a right to feel as comfortable as I do about everything.)

And you really shouldn’t worry about poors turning to a life of crime to support themselves and their families. That won’t happen on my watch. And if it does, don’t worry, because I’m tough on crime. And criminals. Little known fact about my government: criminals aren’t allowed to vote anymore! Cool eh? Oh, I mean, it was on the news, but I mean, hardly important if you consider that David Cunliffe might’ve bought a bottle of wine that one time. (No new taxes!)

Yeah, tough on crime! But a sensible level of toughness. I mean, I like to call it tough love, because we’re going to make them work full-time jobs for free because we love money and privatisation, but it’s tough, because we’re making criminals work which is tough for them because they turned to crime because they were lazy and just didn’t want to get one of the many, many jobs available in our rockstar economy! After all, prison isn’t a holiday camp, it’s a business.

Anyway, as I was saying. The other thing that we really know is gonna help people find better jobs is a more competitive market place with greater flexibility. Sounds choice as eh? At the end of the day, New Zealanders just want to drink a beer and watch the All Blacks win the rugby and think about one day maybe being lucky enough to have a selfie with me. Because at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters? A Prime Minister who will front up to the hard work of PR?
 

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Hey, did you see me on the cover of Rugby News? I’m pretty much an honorary All Black. It’s thanks to me they won the World Cup. Really, I’m just like Richie MacCaw. Except richer obviously.

Right, like I was saying before I interrupted me, the marketplace needs competition and what better way to add that than by introducing mandatory 40-hour work weeks for prisoners, to compete with the working poor for the absolute cheapest labour possible. I think most New Zealanders agree that everyone should have to work and earn their living here. And actually I think that most prisoners will find that they’re at least 40% better off under this scheme than that other one. And I guess if they’re not then that’s cool too, because it’s not like they can do anything about it in the end. 

Oh hey, did I mention tax cuts? We’re definitely going to give you tax cuts possibly in a few years time if the economy is still rocking like the rockstar it is (and by extension also me) and maybe if Bill English isn’t a meanie. I mean, we might end up increasingly GST, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lied, because we never promised no tax increases, just no new taxes.

Anyway, you better get used to all this, because as my friends in the media like to say, it’s all over bar the shouting (I affectionately like to call them “glove-puppets of Cameron Slater” — it’s kind of an in-joke, don’t feel bad if you don’t get it — most New Zealanders don’t even care about glove-puppets).

We’ve already won. You can tell, because Kate Middleton’s pregnant again, and if that’s not a good omen for me, then I don’t know what is. Have you seen all the pictures of me with Kate and William and stuff when they came last time? We had a barbecue and some beers, right out of the bottle, roughing it, y’know, just two manly men with giant hunks of meat the size of a baby. ‘Cause I’m not sorry to be a man — in fact, if anything I’m not sorry not to be a not-man. I think I’ve made myself clear on this issue and I won’t be taking more questions unless they’re about rugby or royals, or having a beer with me, Honest John Key.

 

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Judith will be back after the election to be tough on crime again, since this has been something she’s allegedly been working on with Serco for ages. I mean, they might have had so many dinners over this plan, you wouldn’t believe how much Serco probably donated to our campaign as a result. But if there’s any unwisdom going on with Judith I will be sure to root it out and be publicly disappointed with it while pretty much doing nothing about it actually, you can count on me!

Don’t listen to what Winston says about Royal Commissions of Inquiry, because there’s nothing behind the curtain! It’s the same thing as a regular old Commission of Inquiry, except who appoints people, which you know, I mean, I think most New Zealanders agree that should be me. If I can’t be trusted to run my own inquiry into my own cabinet’s actions and self-regulate my own cabinet, then what does that say about self-regulation? That it doesn’t work? Another smear!

Winston’s such a liar. He lies all the time. I never lie, and I especially never lie about not lying. It’s all a left-wing smear anyway, they’re just threatened by how great I am.

Threatened by how great New Zealand is under National. I mean, it has been great hasn’t it? We’re all so much better under my fudged crime stats, my fudged employment stats and my glove-puppet media machine that helps expose important, sexy penis-in-vagina corruption like the Len-Brown type, not boring old bureaucratic political corruption like Official-Information-Act-request type. Sex scandals, not paperwork scandals unless they involve eleven-year-old letters! That’s one of National’s primary campaign promises. Also maybe tax cuts.

Obviously, we believe in working for New Zealand (especially if you’re a New Zealander in privatised prison), and trying to scare most New Zealanders about left-wing alliances.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that what most New Zealanders want? To be scared and rich, trapped in their heavily defended homes, while those nasty poors get put into privatised slavery one by one? (Oh yeah, we’re increasing military spending too. It’ll be sweet, promise.) I’m pretty sure that’s what most New Zealanders want.

Yours knowingly, confidently and totally comfortable with that,

John Key

 

PS, Here’s a picture of me with a kitten from the Whale Oil website, which you should definitely check out because it’s pretty swell.

 
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PPS, Here’s a picture I drew of my beehive. It’s got an arrow to “my office” so Jason Ede and OIA people can find it. But I think most New Zealanders understand that when I say “my office” it means I’m in Hawai’i.

 
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PPPS, I mentioned tax cuts eh?

 

Fear

Of ambiguity, of change, of not knowing what’s coming next. If we leave the capitalist, consumerist paradigm behind, where exactly do we go, either as individuals or as a society? It’s why people don’t quit their jobs, why we haven’t abandoned coal or oil, and why we haven’t really changed our financial systems much at all.

It seems unlikely that we’ll evolve into a new generation of spiritual beings any time soon, like The Celestine Prophecy might have us believe. Then again, it seems even less likely we’re going to “adapt” to massive shifts in weather patterns like Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil believes, or his crazy friends over at the US Chamber of Commerce who are saying that “populations can acclimatise to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological and technological adaptations”. (That’s right, this means we might evolve really really fast! Fun!)

But what is increasingly scary is the thought that nothing might change at all. Or at least, that by our inaction, or inability to do things differently, that we might be dooming future generations to live (if they can) in the kind of future only dystopian science fiction writers (oh, also now scientists) have imagined. And dystopian fiction is fun to read, but I, for one, have no particular interest in living in a Crapsack World.

Unfortunately, you can’t make one type of fear disappear by playing it off against another. The only way to dissolve fears is to face them.

Ignorance, disinterest or head-in-the-sand syndrome: the Ponzi scheme that is our financial system

I’ve come to realise people don’t really understand how the economy works and often aren’t really that interested. Look, I know why — I mean, I wasn’t either until a few years ago, when it became clear to me that maybe it was something I should be interested in. I suppose in a way, it’s easy to feel like it doesn’t affect you (which I think is crazy, but what do I know?). I suppose that’s what happens when people feel alienated from the systems that govern their world. Anyway, I suspect a lot of people think:

  1. It’s the government’s job to know about these things, so why should they bother, and
  2. The government always has their best interests at heart, right?

Maybe it’s naïve (it certainly seems so to me), but I can understand why people might not be interested in getting involved; we have enough to think about already, what with choosing what kind of car to buy, getting other people to think we are cool, and (on a more serious note) trying to make ends meet. Not everyone has the inclination or desire to know about these things.

But for those who do care, and don’t know, let me give you a quick rundown. This is the super-simplified version, and I’m going to be up front with you and admit that my own knowledge on these things is limited and basic.

So, most people think that money is made by our governing bodies. That’s not really true. I think that maybe it used to be true, but since the advent of computers, most money is in fact not physical at all, and exists simply as a series of numbers in a shared database, created by banking systems. Of course we still print real money. That’s what the federal reserve, treasury, or reserve bank is for (among other things). But most money is not created this way.

Instead, the majority of the money in the world is brought into existence only when a loan is taken out from a bank. So, in this way, most money created is actually a negative balance and is actually fictional. Seriously, when you go to the bank and get a loan, that money doesn’t really exist, but is simply some digits typed into a box, which then appear in your account. You can then give those digits to others.

Okay, so far so simple? Here’s where the catch comes in. Because this (majority of) money comes into existence as debt, as a negative balance, it means effectively that all the debt (or fictional money) really grossly outweighs all the real money in the world. So, while it might be possible for an individual to pay back their personal debt, it not possible for everyone in the world to pay back their debt. Because there just isn’t as much real money as there is negative money. This is a little tricky to get your head around, so let’s check out this video (it’s a little cheesy and not the most sophisticated but it explains the origins of this system quite well):

 

This is basically fractional reserve banking in a nutshell (only a fraction of the deposits a bank holds are required to be held in reserve = fractional reserve banking). And this is why everyone’s gotten so upset since the global financial crisis; because they realised our global financial system was basically the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme. What makes it even worse, is that the only thing that keeps this scheme going, aside from ever-increasing debt, is people believing that the system is stable. Which is the very thing that people are now beginning to question.

But wait, there’s more! The other thing this system relies upon is ever increasing consumption of resources. Capitalism is a system that relies upon infinite expansion, infinite growth, infinite increase. The problem there being (if you hadn’t spotted it already), we live in a finite world. Furthermore, we’re starting to realise that we’re actually going to have to consume a little less pretty soon, because our (mis)management of resources has been, to put it lightly, unsustainable.

The problem is that a lot of people seem not to care; if they can still make lots of money and feel safe, then why should they? And, dear reader, we’re almost back in the bubble we were in pre-meltdown five years ago.  Not too many people saw the bubble itself as the problem, what was a problem was the chance that the bubble might burst. In other words, living in a dream world is okay, as long as no one wakes me up from that dream.

Welcome to the 21st Century; don’t look too closely and you won’t notice the cracks in the system.

Futility and denial

That pervading sense that anything we could do would make no difference anyway. Is this sometimes an excuse for inaction, laziness or contradictory behaviour? I believe in part it may be; we all started putting in energy-save lightbulbs, but installed massive plasma HD flatscreen TVs at the same time, which kind of took the edge off it.

Look, obviously I’m not suggesting no one is making changes. But I am saying there’s been a lot of denial going on about the state of the world, and a lot of excuses have been made to justify more status quo. You can look at the “sophisticated objection” to climate change, or New Zealand’s pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol (but don’t worry, it was “outdated” and “we never wanted to be a world leader in climate change” — thank goodness we dodged that bullet) and there’s ample cause for concern in other areas.

Sometimes it’s hard not to feel a little dispirited. The UN have reported (again) that a “global shift toward a vegan diet” will be necessary to feed the world’s growing population (with a whole slew of facts to back it up that I won’t bore you with here, but if you’re interested, they’re readily available), although many fear that the likelihood of this “global shift” actually happening is rather slim since that would be: “boring food-wise”, meat “tastes nice” and  no one has the right “to dictate what goes on my dinner plate”. Oh yeah, and it’s “tosh”.

Oh dear. A piece of advice? Never read the comments section.

Of course, the truth is that only through action will anything good ever come. We can moan that one person boycotting Coke won’t stop their (alleged) atrocities in Colombia, but if you disagree with the practices of union breaking in developing nations, then you may be left with little choice to show your distaste to the multibillion dollar multinational corporation. (And I won’t mention Apple. Whoops, I just did!) And the point is that not just one person is boycotting Coke, because people live in these complex networks of relationships I like to call societies, and they have influence on each other. Anyway, the argument that boycott doesn’t have any effect is flawed by ample evidence that the opposite is in fact true. Cadbury didn’t remove palm oil from its chocolate because it was really fun changing their recipe all the time, and neither did Nestlé.

The famous (and overused, I’m sorry) quote by Margaret Mead comes to mind: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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