There are a couple of points I would like to comment on before closing out, however. These are – capping incomes and the concept of equality. I suspect that I am not quite so far to the left on these two issues as some others.
I do not support the 20x proposition. I find this to be entirely arbitrary and not supported by any principle of economics or ethics that I am aware of. Further, I doubt that it has any more appeal to the low-income sector than it would have to the middle and higher paid, (I nearly said “earning” -ha ha!). I believe our objective is to raise the incomes of the economically stressed, not to limit the incomes of the successful – that smacks to me of envy and spite and I don’t see it as an effective way to raise the incomes of the poor.
I have never studied economics and so I probably don’t know what I am talking about, but it has never stopped me in the past and won’t now!
The only value of money, in whatever form, paper or credit or debt is as a representative of material things – real property (perhaps more accurately “space” in the sence of land and air, goods and services. If the amount of money made available to any individual is restricted then the range or quantity of his/her demand for space,goods and services is likewise restricted. “Demand” means more than just “I want”, it involves “investment” in day to day living as well as in capital projects.
It is the economic function of every person rich and poor(which because we live we cannot escape), to both provide and satisfy demand. As the saying goes “(I)t’s made round to go around”. The rich, of course are able to demand more than the poor, but if they demand enough the poor too should prosper.
That sounds like the infamous “trickle down” theory I suppose. If you believe in supply and demand as the arbiter of price, the answer to a more equal society seems to lie on the “price” side of that triangle. So, what should be the “price” of a high income – apart of course, from hard work? My theory is that the price of income is not work (which lies on the supply side, but tax. I’ll leave it there! The re-distribution of the nation’s income is too big a subject for me in my present state of mind.
Now, about “equality”. This is a perilous concept and I regret to say, one which experience has or should have taught the world is a false lead. The two best examples are the French Revolution – liberty, equality and fraternity and the United States Constitution –all men are born equal. Clearly they are not. More modern examples of this false premise are the various Communist regimes which have come and gone.
I believe that essentially human beings don’t want to be equal or to think of themselves as such, whether by way of income, material wealth, intellect or whatever. Essentially we are a competitive species and we all try to be better than the rest in some way. “Equality” is not a slogan which will win us friends or influence people or politicians.
I think what we are all about really is “a fair go”. Amongst all of its other obligations, the duty of government is to ensure that all citizens have a reasonable opportunity/chance to live a decent, satisfying and useful life, each to the extent of the unequal capacity we were born with. That’s what taxes are for!
Kia ora and keep up the good work – I remain convinced that New Zealand must go back to the fundamental principle which brought our ancestors (indigenous and otherwise) to this place – the search for a decent life for themselves and their descendants. It may be distressingly trite, but for me the Golden Rule says it all –Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.