So...rather than hijack that thread (as I know I sometimes do.....) I'll start a new one.
Broadly...I used to be a keen supporter of private business and free markets. To put legs under that, I was New Zealand Party supporter back in 1984 5 minutes after Bob Jones launched it.
Free markets. Less regulations. Floating currency. All that.
I generally approved of "Rogernomics" as necessary. I voted for Labour in 1987 so that it might continue in this direction. But then by 1990 I could see - looking ahead - that the numbers didn't add up. It wasn't making sense. All obvious downside...and no obvious upside.
It felt too much like religion - "faith" in the blind hand of the market - and not enough like real policy. The consequences were obvious enough. Lots of uncertainty. More insecurity. Big businesses squeezing out smaller ones. Foreign corporates extending their domination of the remaining sectors of the NZ economy still locally held. Profits head offshore....investment then falls....plants and factories first run down...then shut down as "too expensive" to replace.
Over and over.
So I began to back away. We have to live here. Whatever is here has to work for us. We have to MAKE it work. market forces won't be doing that as they are global...but we are only local.
The numbers didn't add up at all.
Over the decades that followed I kept seeing markets - here - fail..and hearing the excuses.
Privatisations didn't result in savings. They weren't more "efficient"....they were often stripped of their assets and/or run down. Things always ended up costing more, not less. Prices rose and services declined. Wages trended downward for most people. Working hours got longer.
Enough was enough for me by the early 2000's. It became clear where it all was heading: a narrow primary production base and related services industries. Careers in entire industries would now have to be pursued overseas...if at all. Skills lost. The potential for innovation ever more narrow...and the minute anyone does succeed, they sell it off to some overseas buyer hwo takes the IP and goes elsewhere...either immediately or within a very few years...and we then import what we used to make.
Unelected, unaccountable (to me) business people (and the cheats and fraudsters among them) have had their day.
I can see ACC was well run until the governments pulling the levers required them to became concerned with making money instead of doing what they were supposed to do: no fault compensation for injury and disability with support provided as required.
I can see Kiwibank is a roaring success, started with public investment being well run.
I can see Air New Zealand was rescued after Brierley trashed it.
I can see Kiwirail could be the essential, strategic core of a national public transportation system in an approaching era of energy scarcity and lower greehhouse gas emissions.
Private business people and their allies tend to blind to all these things...and have slowly taught me that people I elect and who are accountable to me - to all of us - are probably a better bet in the long run than the blind hand of the market....
Private business is good at small things we can do without if we need to. But for core infrastructure and services we all rely on...they have proven more than untrustworthy in my view.
I wanted to believe otherwise....but experience over 50 years made it clear I would be wrong to persist in that.
How do you see things? A Marxist? A neo-liberal? A pragmatist? You young and starry-eyed and full of freshly-learned theory of some kind? Or maybe someone who has been around a while....heard all the promises and theories...and had the time to see how things really turned out.
I'm all in favour of real private investment and entrepreneurs. But I no longer have any time for unaccountable (often foreign-owned), ticket-clipping would-be monopolists and cartel operators with a parliamentary pass and monthly meetings with their pet ministers. This, in my view, is what the promise of "free enterprise" has degraded into in reality.
It doesn't help that far too many Kiwis won't have a clue what I'm talking about....or why. yet it matters very much as these ideas and events have shaped their world...and largely defined the parameters of any possible destiny open to them.