2019-12-22 07:57:27 UTC
The critical paragraphs are probably:
" . . . weve made some crucial factors worse, such as inequalities of
income, health and education, household and farming debt, housing
affordability, infrastructure and the natural environment.
As a society, weve coped well with great crises, particularly the
Christchurch earthquakes and mosque massacre. But weve diminished our
capacity for informed debate, effective policy making and social
Across all aspects of our lives we are largely following global
trends, although thankfully were lagging on the most damaging such as
the social and political breakdown evident in the US and UK."
" It is clear then that . . . those states in which the middle
element is large, and stronger if possible than the other two [wealthy
and poor] together, or at any rate stronger than either of them alone,
have every chance of having a well-run constitution. Thus did
Aristotle summarise his analysis of the Greek city states. The
stability of what we would now call constitutional democracy depended
on the size of its middle class. It is no accident that the US and UK,
long-stable democracies today succumbing to demagogy, are the most
unequal of the western high-income countries. Aristotle, we are
learning, was right.
A chart accompanying the article shows the five most unequal economies
in the world (in terms of disposable income after taxes and cash
transfers). They are, in order, the US, South Korea, the UK, New
Zealand and Spain. Ours is the best functioning of those five
democracies. But rising tensions will sorely test us in our general
election next year."
The current government has made a start on reducing poverty, with the
two major decisions being to scrap Nationals tax cuts which would have
made the situation worse, and increasing the minimum wage and
increasing benefits, but there is a lot still to be done. One of the
most intractable is rents - anyone who gave up being a landlord when
National did not make it into government was nuts - a large part of
benefit and wage increases is going straight into the pockets of
So the next year is important; it will be interesting to see what
policies all parties take into the next election.