I am back!
Masters – check.
Resuming blogging – check (will ease into it).
Over at Dimpost, DM says “neoliberalism is dead.” Good riddance I say. But you cut off the head of one monster and another one appears. Well this particular monster has been around for a while - silently gaining power in the background waiting for its time in the limelight. The politics of populism has always been around but never have politicians been able to master corporate interest to be served by wielding public opinion. One would have thought that after the 2009 GFC we would have reined in corporate interests in a big way and for a while we tried but I think it’s safe to say that we largely failed. The Koch Brothers in the US have announced they will donate $1 billion to the 2016 Presidential Elections for the Republican candidate. That’s an extraordinary amount of money. Yet, Americans seem largely ambivalent to this. Over in New Zealand, no one can deny the influence of corporate interests over the current government. Whether Warner Bros or SkyCity, we are willing to let our representatives pass legislation that only favours them because we think somehow it will favour us. Maybe it will. But I’m not convinced.
Budget 2015 has largely been an accounting exercise as Bill English desperately tries to build his surplus legacy. Overshadowed by the extremely popular Prime Minister, you can’t blame the guy for wanting to achieve something tangible even though it makes little fiscal sense. Cuts here and additions there does not make for good governance but I don’t think that’s factored into re-election.
One of my professors told me that it is the number one goal of politicians and the only way for the public or businesses to achieve anything is to exploit that. Businesses have resources that the public doesn’t so it’s much harder for us to exploit their re-election goals. But we hold the vote. Thankfully despite being “people”, corporations do not vote. But we have done an extremely poor job of voting for our own interests or the interests of our fellow humans. Left voters particularly have to justify their votes when their side loses which makes very little sense to me. None of us should have to justify our votes. Politicians, on the other hand, are required to justify their position and decisions but these days they have no interest in answering our questions. Whether Question Time or Post-Cab Press Conference, our beloved Prime Minister is all too comfortable letting his impressive poll numbers do the talking.
I just finished a Master’s in Public Affairs and despite the inspiring words from all the speeches, I feel slightly deflated about the future. I worry that the current economic and political decisions will leave us worse off in the long term. Expanding prison population, decreased access to quality education, decreasing access to preventative health, looming climate change problems, erosion of civil rights, growing inequality among other policy issues have left me troubled. Neoliberalism maybe dead but self-interest of the few dictating the lives of all is alive and well.
Watch this space as I try to find some solutions.