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Viewing entries tagged with 'inequality'

Denying reality: how politicians change the world

Posted by Philip on 30 June 2016, 9:13 am in , , ,

Finance Minister Bill English argued in Parliament yesterday there is no evidence of increasing inequality in NZ. This was in response to the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand, which show the top 10 percent of New Zealanders now own 60 percent of all wealth, up from 55 percent five years ago.

English said, responding to RNZ News about a family working three jobs and 80 hours a week, "It doesn't mean their life is easy but it does mean there's pretty moderate but consistent progress in lifting our lowest incomes.

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Child criminals are victims — twice over

Posted by Philip on 24 June 2014, 12:27 pm in , , , , , , , , , ,

The arrest of 12 and 13 year old boys for aggravated robbery and murder respectively in West Auckland a couple of weeks ago highlights a growing malaise in society. The incident itself is a tragedy for the victim and his family, but what is alarming to me is that the two offending boys are victims too — of whatever circumstances led them to offend and now, potentially, of the justice system as well.

The bi-polarity of the justice system, which recognises only victim and offender, clearly fails children in these situations. The stories of those like twelve-year-old Bailey Kurariki (NZ 2001), James Bulger's ten-year-old killers (UK 1993) and eleven-year-old Mary Bell (UK 1968), all of whom were charged and sentenced, point toward a "punishment system" that in no way takes into consideration that these children were too young to be held solely responsible for their actions.

A system that believes kids can be guilty of violent crimes without asking, "How did they become capable of violent crimes?", is one that lacks empathy and compassion. Having empathy and compassion for the kids does not diminish feeling for the victims. It simply acknowledges the existence of complex situations that don't follow "victim/perpetrator" patterns.

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The water hoarder — a capitalist fable

Posted by Philip on 19 June 2014, 11:30 am in , , ,

Once upon a time there was a man. The man liked water — you may even say he loved it.

The man grew up in a family of water lovers. The family didn’t have a lot of water, but they had enough to not be thirsty.

He finished school and went to university. At university, he learnt how to acquire water.

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14 things I'd like to see happen in 2014

Posted by Philip on 31 December 2013, 9:07 am in , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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New Zealand's relatively small population, land mass and infrastructure creates so much opportunity to lead the world in recognising some fundamental changes that would improve society in general. Here's my bucket list.

  1. Economies other than financial — eg. resources, time, value — are discussed, considered viable and used in more viable ways.
  2. As the Pope pointed out, poverty and wealth inequality is officially recognised as the cause of most, if not all, social problems.
  3. Government invests in technology — such as breath tested ignition locking and GPS-enabled vehicle intelligence — to lower vehicle-related deaths and injury, rather than more policing.
  4. New conversations about universal needs — such as shelter, food and clothing — begin to create the conditions for nobody to be homeless or hungry.
  5. Government portrays a true representation of society's diversity in social campaigns.
  6. Schools use a wider understanding of diversity as a way of making education more accessible and relevant for students.
  7. Labour wins the election.
  8. Politicians have job descriptions and regular performance appraisals.
  9. The internet is used to enable more democratic, public involvement in local, regional decision-making.
  10. The Zeitgeist Movement and Venus Project's ideas and designs of a resource-based economy become common knowledge and popularised.
  11. I win Lotto. Just kidding — Lotto is abolished and proceeds are used to alleviate poverty.
  12. Everyone realises that alcohol and drug addiction is about dosage, not about substances, and are symptoms of poverty and wealth inequality (see 2 above).
  13. Apple, Microsoft, Android, Google etc stop competing and start collaborating to make some really cool shit.
  14. Lorde doesn't forget where she comes from.

Happy New Year!

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