Cunliffe is once again pushing the envelope with his latest 'true labour' speech, here's the flavor...
Let's have a quick recap of history. As a result of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the New Zealand Labour Party – like its counterparts around the world – legislated to rein in speculation, to protect jobs and to protect human rights.
Most of New Zealand's great economic assets, such as our farms, our roads and our forests, grew and prospered as a direct result of these policies. As our nation grew more prosperous, the wealth was widely shared. No children needed to starve in the New Zealand I grew up in.
However, the 1980s and '90s saw the rise of a philosophy developed by the rich, for the rich. It was called Neo-Liberalism.
Neo-Liberalism is based on the idea that it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Neo-Liberalism is based on the idea that greed is good, that we’re all locked in an economic life-and-death-struggle with each other. Neo-Liberalism says that compassion is for suckers. Neo-Liberalism says that if the world is going to the dogs, it might as well be the top dogs. Indeed, to borrow from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, not only is greed good, “it’s legal.”
When the British Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher was asked about the effects that her Neo-liberal policies would have on society, she replied:
“There is no such thing as society… There are individual men and women.”
The amazing thing about the Neo-Liberals is their wilful blindness to how badly their ideas have failed. Not just once, but repeatedly. Neo-Liberal policies directly caused two of the largest financial crashes in history. Did they apologise? No way. Like some mad doctor, when the first dose of medicine didn’t work, they wanted to double the dose.
And so, the Neo-Liberal bandwagon rolls on. Right here in New Zealand, the National Party is still trotting out the same discredited economic policies that got us into this mess in the first place.
...Cunliffe seems to be one of the few voices brave enough in Labour to actually challenge the economic hegemonic structure of neo-liberalism and find it failing us utterly.
With 270 000 children in poverty, a 6.8% official unemployment rate and a real underemployed rate in double digits, our historically high inequality won't be honestly faced if we don't challenge the Washington consensus that none of us consented to.
This recession is a unique crisis of capitalism, it isn't some normal bust and boom cycle, what the banking corporates were allowed to do by building these weapons of mass financial destruction has compromised democratic states in a way communism, fascism and terrorism never could.
We need political leaders with the vision to see how momentous these events are and how they challenge every philosophical foundation of free market dogma.
Why isn't Cunliffe the finance spokesperson?