The new depression, public re-ownership and redefining Maori Capitalism
We are now entering the phase of the 2007 economic crash that really cuts deep.
Nouriel Roubini, the man who predicted the current financial calamity has claimed his worst case scenario is now on track for fruition in 2013 while the financial micro climate that has shielded NZ from the real edges of the crash is now at risk as the brakes go on the mighty Chinese red engine of lowest cost capitalism.
In short we aren't half way through this recession and it has every possibility of becoming a new recession.
Will chasing more failed free market dogma help? No, The Guardian calculates that PPP's in Britain will cost up to 12 times more than if the government borrowed the money itself and ran them.
Selling assets and privatizing social services is not the solution. Free market dogma isn't an answer, it's part of the problem. National are so blinkered ideologically they have no other paradigm able to explore than deregulated-low-tax-low-wage-small-government.
The problems confronting us are beyond National's imagination.
The new recession will demand new answers and new powers stepping up to be redefined. Brain Easton has pointed out in his brilliant MUST READ essay last April on how the left have to create an alternative economic argument that goes beyond the failed free market system and that these alternatives need to be a uniquely 'NZ' answer to the problems we face.
I think one of those unique answers could be Maori Capitalism. If the most important thing really is people, people, people then the Iwi Leaders must take that challenge on board and redefine Maori Capitalism so that it isn't the exact same venal capitalism that we know and hate.
Their involvement in the Affco/Talley's dispute showed their muscle, they now need to reach out and debate how they should refocus from profit margins to people, to work out what makes their capitalism different from the free market one that has failed so many Maori.
The economic doom will also force the left to reconsider free market doctrine. A massive social investment into state housing is necessary, as is the political courage to lift the top tax rate and impose a financial transaction tax.
The reality is this global downturn is only just beginning and public re-ownership of the economic agenda is critical if NZ wants to live up to its egalitarian hopes.