A guest post from a smart guy I know who shall remain anonymous.

It was with a sense of relief that I listened to the Prime Minister dismiss Rod Drury’s suggestion to establish enclaves for wealthy overseas property investors. That relief turned to dismay when Grant Robertson announced that the government was considering cash handouts to all New Zealanders.

Both these proposals are aimed at shoring up a broken economic model. The former is the classic example of the biggest con job in the last 4 decades; The Trickle-Down Theory. 40 years ago we surrendered any attempt to create an egalitarian, classless society as the Neo-Liberal economists convinced us that by allowing extreme wealth we would see universal economic benefit, that the wealth of the few would filter down to the many. The reality has been record rates of child poverty, record homelessness, inequitable access to education and health care and a reduction in socioeconomic mobility. We have developed a fragmented society with a huge disconnect between rich and poor.

The proposal to stimulate the economy by giving money to every individual is based on the assumption that economic survival depends on consumption. The counterargument is that uncontrolled consumption will eventually lead to the destruction of the planet. We have mountains of discarded plastic junk in our landfills, the energy required to produce this crap is destroying our environment. The last thing we need is for every New Zealander to take a taxpayer-funded handout to the Warehouse and come away with a trolley full of foreign-produced plastic.

On this Anzac Day, as we approach the end of lockdown level 4, let us reconsider what sort of society we want to be. The pandemic experience represents an opportunity to reshape our lives.

The Neo-Liberal reforms that transformed our country were enacted 40 years ago without public consultation by a government with no mandate to impose a new economic model on its constituents. Let us not make the same mistake, take this opportunity to let our politicians know what our values are.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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