Category Archives: Economics

The morality of poverty and the poverty of morality

We are moral animals. But, so far as I can judge, in politics today our moral instincts are operating in a way that generates the worst moral outcomes. Metiria Turei’s recent confession (a moral notion) at the launch of the Green … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Economics, New Zealand Politics, Political Psychology, Poverty | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Into the dark: Clinton vs Trump – A Black and White decision?

We live in ‘interesting times’ – as the mythical ‘Chinese curse’ understatedly put it. It’s almost unbearably ‘interesting. From environmental catastrophe gathering its inevitable head of steam to global ructions in the political world and outright wars in the geopolitical world there’s more … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Economics, Free Market, Human Wellbeing, Poverty | Leave a comment

A brief reflection on conspiracies

John Key has responded to Hager’s claims saying: “So Nicky Hager says we’re a tax haven, well with the greatest respect, Nicky Hager is a left-wing conspiracy theorist.” Newstalk ZB, 9 May, 2016 “Last time he came out with all this … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Economics, Freedom, International Politics, New Zealand Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

When is bias no longer bias? When it’s everything.

Is Mike Hosking politically biased? I think the answer is ‘yes’. Is our media politically biased? I think the answer is also  ‘yes’. Is our society politically biased? That’s not quite so easy to answer. But for a more worrying reason … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Economics, Free Market, Human Nature, Media, New Zealand Politics, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Seven Sharp, Campbell Live and TV Ratings – The ‘Nudge’ Factor

University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler and Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein  wrote a generally well-received book in 2008 called ‘Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness‘. It was an accessible assemblage of very well known work in psychology … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Free Market, Human Nature, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Adam Smith on the appeal of the iPhone

“How many people ruin themselves by laying out money on trinkets of frivolous utility? What pleases these lovers of toys is not so much the utility, as the aptness of the machines which are fitted to promote it.” (Part IV, … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Free Market, Freedom, Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, Philosophy, Political Psychology, Poverty, Welfare | 10 Comments

Adam Smith and the Left and Right of Moral Sentiment – A Christmas Tale

[I’m on holiday in a place with very limited and irregular cellphone coverage and access to the internet. That means I haven’t included links in this post but, when I’ve quoted from Adam Smith’s work, I’ve referenced the ‘Part’ and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Free Market, Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, National Identity, New Zealand Politics, Philosophy | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Spotlight on Christchurch: Epilogue – ‘Trickle up theory’ a confirmed success

It seems that with every day that passes more pieces fall into place. Jig-saw addicts know the feeling well: A piece seemingly no different from any other catches your eye and, as you place it down, it fits snugly into … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Earthquakes, Economics, New Zealand Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Varieties of poverty in New Zealand

The debate over various ‘food in school’ programmes is remarkably lively, especially now that the Government is seemingly covering its flank on the issue – and perhaps even attempting to outflank those on the left. In fact, it’s now gone well beyond being … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Education, New Zealand Politics, Poverty, Welfare | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

National Standards and Neanderthals – “They will know what is required …” – Part II

[Apologies, but this post is now in three parts, not just two – this is Part II. Part III should be up by the time you read this.] Who’s afraid of National Standards? In Part I of this post, I argued … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Economics, Education, Freedom, Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, New Zealand Politics | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments