Monday, August 22, 2011

The Income Divide Between "Bosses" and "Workers"

In this Saturday's The Dominion Post newspaper there was a front page article and a full-page inside article highlighting the fact that the "boss" of Telecom New Zealand receives 50 times the salary of a Telecom "worker" (as if chief executives aren't workers).

Usually I don't read The Dominion Post, despite it being the major daily newspaper for my city, Wellington. This is because over the years it has developed an overwhelmingly left-wing, statist editorial stance that permeates almost every article in it. If I want politically neutral reporting on important news and issues, I have to go elsewhere. But I made an exception this weekend and, as usual, was appalled by the lack of journalist integrity and, frankly, the stupidity of these articles on the income divide.

Firstly, the articles relied on a few superficial examples of chief executive pay packets rather than including any detailed analysis of relative income changes across the employment market over time.

Secondly, they didn't include any comparative international analysis of New Zealand incomes. On an international basis, our chief executives are comparatively lowly paid whereas our "workers" are comparatively well paid for the same jobs. It is the latter comparison that is most salient because New Zealanders compete in the international market for their jobs and incomes.

The purpose of The Dominion Post's campaign (and it is obvious it was a political campaign) was to support the calls from the Council of Trade Unions and others for further increases in the minimum wage. But such a call isn't justified by comparing "workers" incomes with chief executives. It is only justified if we can show that New Zealand workers are more productive (i.e. add greater value to the products and services they are producing) than competing international workers. Pushing up New Zealand workers incomes without a corresponding increase in value produced will only push jobs offshore.

The lack of a more intelligent analysis of this issue highlights the poor standard of journalism at The Domnion Post but is, unfortunately, par for the course for the New Zealand media.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Berlin Wall - Lest We Forget

It has been fifty years this month since the German Democratic Republic erected the Berlin Wall.

The Wall was the physical embodiment of the Socialist belief that common good trumps individual good. It was built to preserve the Socialist regime of the GDR by physically imprisoning its population, who up until then were leaving for West Germany in increasing numbers. The Communist form of Socialism that was practised in the Soviet block, and that is still adhered to a greater or lesser extent in China, Cuba and North Korea, is the natural extension of all Socialist regimes. Socialists believe they know what is best for all of us and that individuals should not be trusted to make their own decisions about how they live and work. Ultimately this belief must lead to the use of violence by the state to restrain individuals where their individual choices conflict with those of the rulers of the state.

The only alternative to the building of Berlin Walls is a society based on the paramouncy of individual rights. In such a society the only legitimate role of the state is to prevent the initiation of violence by one individual or group against another. In such a society the state rules only by consent of the individual. In such a society, governments and laws are subservient to the rights of the individual, not the other way around.

Unfortunately, such a society doesn't exist in the world today. In all countries there is an on-going battle between those who adhere to the Socialist philosophy that 'might is right' and those who believe that individuals are best able to make their own decisions about how to live their lives.

The Berlin Wall is a fading reminder that, as Wendell Phillips (not Jefferson, as commonly thought) said, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

If You Are Interested in Climate Change...

...then go and listen to the very entertaining Lord Monckton speak on the subject in Auckland, Wellington and Whangarei this week. Details here.

And if you want to read an excellent book on the subject then buy James Delingpole's Watermelons (available as an eBook here).

Monday, August 1, 2011

As Good as it Gets?

I read the following in James Delingpole's blog on the The Telegraph's website today and it touched a depressing nerve:

"When Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were in charge Britain’s rapid and terrifying decline was still just about bearable. That’s because in those days you could console yourself that they would sooner or later be swept away by a Tory regime which would swiftly set about undoing all the damage they had done. But just look at the mess we’ve landed ourselves instead: I feel like a bit like a wartime Polish officer who has been rescued from the Germans, escaping execution by the skin of his teeth, only to discover that his liberators are the NKVD.

The worst of the many awful things about Cameron’s bastard Coalition is this: you know that where we are now is going to be about as good as it gets."

It is exactly how I feel about the John Key-led coalition government in New Zealand.