We're feeding the greed
In lambasting the inequalities of today's capitalist financial system, Martin Visser (November 12) is correct to blame both National and Labour.
When we had a National-led government, the official method for financing Crown entities and SOEs was debt-funding - even though there is no legislation stipulating such a policy.
We Social Crediters fought the same dogma when David Lange and Helen Clark were prime ministers. So it is revealing to read in a recent NZ Herald item (October 26) Fran O'Sullivan's comment: "The Labour-led Government believes what is needed is a pipeline of debt-finance - for instance by the Government issuing long-term bonds ..."
Rarely, though, do we hear who gets to own and profit from such government securities, let alone the enormous trade in the derivatives needed to prop up the money markets where they are bought and sold - making billionaires of some financiers.
Sadly, few admit to the fact that all of us not in that top 5 per cent income percentile feed the greed every time we service the interest component of our rates and taxes. Then there is the private sector debt, eg, the mortgage demands on the inflated prices of real estate.
It's encouraging to know there is a growing number of people, besides myself, writing to the Chronicle on the way the financial system is skewed to make the super-rich richer. How to "reboot the system", quoting Martin Visser, is the question that must and can be answered.
Simply requiring the Reserve Bank to credit-fund essential infrastructures like rail, hospitals, schools, hydro-electricity generation would help underpin a prosperous private sector owned and operated by ourselves. That's just for starters.
HEATHER MARION SMITH
Two faces of capitalism
David Bennett's letter ("Sir Winston", November 3) was a strange mix of vilification of Winston Peters, defence of capitalism, veiled desire for a return to first past the post elections, and - possibly - jealousy of a political figure who just might swing the kind of deals that his overheated imagination presents us with.
The last was as insulting to the Prime Minister as to Mr Peters.
No doubt Mr Bennett knows perfectly well that to say "The same capitalism [as that panned by Mr Peters] pays our pensions" is neither an adequate defence nor a sufficient truth. What Mr Peters actually said with reference to capitalism was that "far too many New Zealanders have come to view TODAY'S capitalism not as their friend but as their foe. And they are not all wrong". Not a "rant", but a balanced perception of the greedy distortions of modern global economics.
Capitalism has always had an uneasy relationship with modern democracy, and the past 30 years of so-called neo-liberal economics has seen an unbridled attack on the elements of democratic government that called for fair and equitable treatment of all citizens.
A return to what Mr Peters called "capitalism's - responsible, its human, face" is what is required to salvage democracy and prevent a version of oligarchy and the continued slide into wage slavery that was the case before universal suffrage.
Mr Bennett needs to distinguish between the various forms of both capitalism and (representative) democracy.
Armistice Day shall grow not old
Great to see Armistice Day honoured again (Chronicle, November 13, p2). And especially great to see the RSA continuing to honour it, though there be no WWI veterans left.
One imagines that RSA President Graeme Paul, in his reading of Binyon's poem at the ceremony, got it right, unlike the erroneous version inscribed in the foyer of our own War Memorial Hall.
"... they shall not grow old," indeed, reads the inscription in the foyer. Er, no. The correct words are "... they shall grow not old".
That wrong version of Binyon's poem has been on public display in the Memorial Hall for some years. I noticed the error when I returned to my home town in 2011.
About time it was fixed, I should say, so that the hall that was built to honour them may show some real respect for those brave souls who gave their all, for us who live in peace today.
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