Friday 31 August 2018

Compassing The Economy's Death.

What Were They Thinking? It’s probably fair to say that “Queen Jacinda’s” response to the "Crisis of Business Confidence" would be somewhat more robust than inviting Air New Zealand CEO, Chris Luxon, to chair a Business Advisory Council!

IN ENGLISH LAW “compassing the king’s death” was treason. “Compassing”, in this context, meant ‘imagining’, ‘contriving’ or ‘plotting’. Medieval jurists held fast to the notion that the thought is father to the deed. Which made even thinking about the king’s death a capital crime. After all, if the Gospel of Matthew (5:27-28) could hold that “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”, then any subject looking darkly upon the monarch was, at the very least, guilty of entertaining treasonous thoughts about his future. Thought Crime existed long before George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

It would be interesting to live in a world where simply thinking negative thoughts about important people and institutions could get you arrested. What would become of business leaders, for example, if they were shown to have consistently experienced (let alone given voice to) a woeful lack of confidence in the personnel and policies of the Government? Such negativity would, almost certainly, be drawn to the “monarch’s” attention. How would she respond?

It’s probably fair to say that “Queen Jacinda’s” response would be somewhat more robust than inviting Air New Zealand CEO, Chris Luxon, to chair a Business Advisory Council!

One can easily imagine her humbler subjects demanding that she take a very hard line with such rebellious noblemen. After all, compassing the demise of the kingdom’s economy strikes directly at the livelihoods of tens-of-thousands of hard-working men and women. Excessive business negativity costs jobs. It stymies much needed investment. Taken to extremes, it can seriously jeopardise the economic well-being of the entire country. It’s hard to see “Queen Jacinda” regarding this as anything other than economic treason.

In the Middle Ages, rebellious nobles faced not only execution, but also the complete forfeiture of their estates to the Crown. Were such draconian powers still available to the leaders of today, then it is easy to predict the outcome of what most of the country’s leading economists have characterised as a completely unwarranted “Crisis of Business Confidence”.

Queen Jacinda’s Attorney-General, David Parker, would be asked to draft her a sheaf of all-purpose Bills of Attainder which she would then pass over to her Justice Minister, Andrew Little, for presentation to the House.

Bill of Attainder? Oh, these were extraordinary documents! A “Bill” or, once passed, an “Act of Attainder” was a piece of legislation declaring a person or persons guilty of a crime, or crimes, without the irksome necessity of first securing their conviction in an ordinary court of law. Essentially, Bills of Attainder forced their victims to undergo “Trial by Parliament” (in the United States they call this “Impeachment”) in which the role of the jury was played by the assembled parliamentarians. A simple majority was enough to strip “over-mighty” subjects of their titles, offices, properties – even their lives.

With Lord Shane Jones playing the role of the Queen’s Special Prosecutor, it isn’t difficult to predict how these Trials by Parliament would go. The rebellious business barons would be found guilty of “Compassing the Death of the Economy” and their companies and corporations would be declared forfeit to the Crown. “Nationalisation”, you see, goes back a lot further than the Twentieth Century!

And what about Master Simon Bridges? Surely, Queen Jacinda and her counsellors have a strong prima facie case that he is not only the prime mover in this plot to kill the economy, but that he also intended the misfortunes flowing from its demise to effect the political death of the Queen?

Did he not declare on Thursday, 30th August that: “Business confidence has slumped further to levels not seen since the global financial crisis 10 years ago. This time the crisis is of the Government’s own making and the return to duty of the Prime Minister a month ago has only made it worse.”

No loyal subject of Queen Jacinda could read those words without forming the strong conviction that Master Bridges means his monarch harm. That he has already committed treason against her in his heart.

“Convey him to the Tower! Prepare the Bill of Attainder! Fetch timber for the scaffold! Sharpen the axe!”

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 31 August 2018.


Kat said...

Remember the times when it was the unions and the cloth cap stirrers from "pom-land" that held the country to ransom with strikes and go slows. All in the interests of better wages. Now its the so called business leaders "loss of confidence" holding the country's governance to ransom via assorted politicians and media hacks all in the interests of profit.

And back in the days of Yore the unmistakable sound of axes and swords being sharpened filled the air.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well we've had the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the age of Enlightenment – but I suspect now we have entered the age of entitlement. Two things need to be said to business, particularly big business.
Firstly they need to pay their fair share of the damned taxation. Which they don't.
And secondly they need to be told that they are not in a position of privilege with regards to influencing this government.
I am not at all confident that either of those things will happen.

Nick J said...

You have put your finger on something Chris. This destructive behaviour demands retribution, the issue is that the leaders of capitalism have a number of very venal levers to inflict pain upon the populace. Maybe the answer would be to quietly inform them that as a large customer, over a third of the economy, the government is going to actively seek their exclusion whilst also taxing them more. Trick is to make capital understand that they have a role as a partner, not a ruler.

greywarbler said...

Businessmen there just have to pull up their socks and stop being so wimpy.
They should be like the businessman in this clip who worked his way up to riches through integrity, strength of mind and physical fitness. And most of what they need is integrity. Look round for a suitable person who has it and buy it.

NZs have sung hopefully God defend New Zealand, but we didn't think it would come to that if we had people with the Right Stuff keeping the country gainfully employed in moderately successful enterprises It's time for true grit, and the furriners can go home and be change agents there; wherever they are from - they are needed. Those that are left can join in a scrum, put their heads down and get on with the mahi right now. Before somebody else comes along and plants a flag to reduce our spirit even more. (Sorry if I have put this from Eddie Izzard before. It is so apposite so often these days.)

Glenn Webster said...

I have an axe and will work for free.

Nick J said...

Age of it.

Jens Meder said...

Well Nick J - and is "people as partners in capitalism" not the best way achieved by actually making sure that people don't evade participation in the efforts responsibilities, risks, and advantages of capitalism?

And - because that would be very difficult for lowest income earners -

have a systematic effort towards that end built into the taxation system ?

greywarbler said...

What end would that be Jens Meder? Tax them harder the poorer they are so as to motivate them? Have you heard that in very early childhood, if children are not taught they are important, talked to, had their hands held and hugged, given objects that are named, taken for walks and socialised, then those children will not have the neurons laid down in their brains relating to those things. And they will never have them and so will be difficult to motivate and understand.

But if parents and children are treated as human capital, if you can't bring yourself to regard them kindly just as worthy fellow humans, then society will get a good return on capital and it may be exponential. How about bringing real people to your illusory capital model, and the two may combine to give an amazing feedback loop?

Nick J said...

Jens, if you make sure people don't evade participation in the efforts risks and responsibilities of capitalism you need compulsion. Not freedom. Freedom to not be forced to be an entrepreneur, or a businessman. Or to be forced to take risks. Capitalists get rewarded because they freely accept risk (well that's the theory...reality is very different).

David Stone said...

Nothing to do with the blog Chris, but I think this might be serious shit. The Yanks look like they've given up on trying to sell another false flag chemical attack as it's not only been played too often now but it's also been called well in advance this time. so by this announcement they aren't bothering with a pretext. The Syrians have to complete the cleanup of the terrorists in their country and the US is going to attack them. Abandoning the pretence of fighting terrorism and fighting with the terrorists openly.
Russia won't stand for it this time. I think we are looking at a showdown.

David Stone said...

I meant to link this ""

Anonymous said...

Great post.

John Hurley said...

Strong start for Māori Language Strategy submissions

We’ve had over 300 individual responses already, most of which came in the very first week. Te reo Māori is clearly something New Zealanders really care about.

“Overall there is support for the strategy. Wider themes are also emerging to do with the role of teachers, compulsory reo Māori in schools and the place of non-Māori New Zealanders in the future of the language.

Consultation closes on 30 September 2018. Analysis of the submissions will inform the final strategy which will go to Cabinet, with an implementation plan, in November.

A newshub poll went from 57% opposed (@ 11k) to 43% opposed (@18k).You can vote as often as you can be bothered refreshing your browser.

Given Brian Edwards rapid retreat you have to wonder what sort of a democracy this is(n't)?

Aren't journalists/ news outlets supposed to be independent?

Jens Meder said...

Yes NickJ - for everyone to participate in personal long term wealth ownership creation you need compulsion just the same as when systematically financing welfare benefits or govt. services - and even the most liberal/libertarian free marketeers prefer that compulsion to anarchy.
And is not compulsion for self-improvement (like say, going to school) ethically and
economically superior to being forced to work like a slave with no independence nor possibility to use your own judgement and imagination for better performance, or for employing professional experts to assist participation in personal and national (retirement) wealth creation ?

Jens Meder said...

greywarbler - "that end" would be participation in national and personal retirement wealth creation for a start.
No, you don't tax the poor harder for that, but through GST even those without taxable income participate as equals with others, and even though their contributions are small, it is the contributions of income earners whose contributions are more substantial the higher their incomes - which make a difference to the national economy and help to maintain higher retirement and old age living standards for all.

What do you think is more positively care giving and will have more positive influence on children of the hopelessly poor as "human capital" - to take just good care of them without expecting any tangible participation and contributions from them -

or have them also participate in wealth ownership creation with continuous explanation, discussion and even clarifying debate on the purpose and expected results of this participation in national and personal (retirement) wealth ownership creation ?