Can North Korea Teach the West How to Have A Humane Cannabis Policy?

Our media has been giving us the Two Minute Hate about North Korea for over two decades. Anyone who has read 1984 knows that most of the reason for this is to distract from the crimes of our own politicians and industrial leaders. One of these crimes is the War on Cannabis: Western Governments could learn from the North Koreans how to have a humane, honest and fair cannabis policy.

For the past 40-50 years, Western Governments have conducted a War on Drugs against their own people, without the consent of those people. Trillions have been spent during these decades to persecute tens of millions of Western citizens, many of whom had not caused any harm to anyone. This mass human rights abuse – because that’s what it is – continues to this day, despite small wins for the people in some areas.

This War on Drugs has been justified with a rhetoric so clumsy and corrupt that even a 1930s-era propagandist would be embarrassed by the lack of subtlety. From the infamous “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” to “Cannabis use causes psychosis” to today’s horseshit stories about how buying cannabis is supporting Mexican narcoterrorism, no more hamfisted effort has ever been made to sell anything.

For roughly half a century, Western families have been ripped apart from having one of their family members sent to prison for a cannabis offence. Tens of millions have been forced into a traumatic encounter with the Police and justice or prison systems, treated as criminals when most were mentally ill and needed help. In America in 2016, there were 574,641 people charged with the crime of simple cannabis possession.

One would expect then, that the punishment for cultivating cannabis in a place as fundamentally evil as North Korea would be horrifically draconian and senseless. If it’s up to seven years imprisonment in New Zealand it must surely be life in prison or even execution there.

To the contrary – far from scheduling cannabis as belonging to the most dangerous category of addictive drugs with no medicinal value as America does, North Korea doesn’t even consider cannabis a drug. Not only are people free to cultivate it without sanction, but it grows freely by the roadside in many places, being a weed and not being subject to eradication programs. North Koreans are free to harvest and smoke it every single day – and they do.

Many would personally be happy to trade all the supposed Western freedoms to drink booze, watch television and chase loose women for the freedom to smoke cannabis, have quality conversations with intelligent people and at the end of the night still be capable of maintaining an erection. So one has to ask: who’s actually better off?

The thawing of relations between the West and North Korea might have implications for cannabis policy in the West. Those Westerners who are still labouring under primitive superstitions such as “cannabis causes brain damage and therefore people should go to prison for it” might learn something from the more enlightened approach taken by the North Korean Government.

Perhaps North Korea could send advisors to the West to educate our politicians about how large industries conspired to make cannabis illegal for the sake of wiping out a competitor, and that keeping it prohibited is actually an immoral thing to do. These North Koreans could also be tasked with going through our Police and justice system employees to root out the sadists who believed that imprisoning someone was ever a fair or reasonable response to drug possession, because they are morally defective and cannot be trusted to serve the public.

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The Solution to the Authoritarian Right Wing is Not the Authoritarian Left but Libertarianism

The answer to right-wing authoritarianism is not more authoritarianism only with a softer face

The Western World is still recoiling at, but fascinated by, the horrors of World War II. Consistent with Francis Fukuyama’s Great Pendulum Theory, we have been looking for solutions to the problems of life that led us into World War II and this has pushed us to the far-left. This essay will argue that the solution to the excesses of the authoritarian right is not authoritarian leftism but libertarianism.

The authoritarian left can be found crying crocodile tears over all kinds of suffering that it blames on the right, in the hope that they can gather more power as a result of the ensuing outrage. Characteristic of the authoritarian left is that they make the same critiques of capitalism and verticalised social structures as the libertarian left, but they offer radically different solutions.

Instead of more freedom for good people, the authoritarian left seeks less freedom for bad people. It sounds like it should lead to similar results, but it doesn’t. Less freedom for good people is one obvious side-effect, but this is considered merely a bit of collateral damage. Those who lose out will understand that such measures were necessary for the sake of the greater good – and if they don’t understand this we will force them to.

Another flaw of the authoritarian left is their bloodlust for punishing those who they consider to have transgressed the moral code. In this sense, the authoritarian left is no less vicious than the authoritarian right, only they purport to brutally punish people to further an agenda of horizontalism instead of one of verticalism. Anyone who tries to elevate one person or group above another is to be ripped down.

Right now, the wet dream of all authoritarian leftists is control of public speech, especially on social media. There is nothing that they would like more than to bring in “hate speech” laws governing social media discourse, so that anyone who expressed a politically incorrect sentiment would be harassed by the Police. Their logic is that if the people were forbidden from expressing certain dangerous ideas then those ideas would become less widespread, thereby dispelling the danger.

The real problem with authoritarian leftism is that the people promoting it are also promoting authoritarian solutions, which tend to mutate back into authoritarian rightism before anyone realises it. As mentioned above, the authoritarian leftists tend to make accurate and fair criticisms of right-wing policy – the problem arises when their recommended response to those criticisms is to centralise more power in their own hands.

The real solution to the problems of the authoritarian right is libertarianism, whether of the left or the right variety. That some on the libertarian left are unwilling to concede this point is a real danger. If the libertarian left is unwilling to co-operate with the libertarian right to oppose authoritarian solutions, they will find the authoritarians co-operating to split the libertarians in half.

Currently, there is a large risk that the extreme, authoritarian right will come back to prominence as a consequence of the social unrest brought about by mass Third World immigration into the West, especially Europe.

The authoritarian left’s solution to this problem is to “stop bigotry” by cracking down on what they deem “hate speech”. Because the dogma has it that all human groups are precisely equal in all ways, any economic disparity between one group and another must come from the malicious efforts of the wealthy group to undermine and impoverish the poor one. Therefore, Third Worlders can only be poor and violent because of prejudice, which must then be stamped out.

The problem with this is, if and when the authoritarian right comes back into power, they will have all these hate speech laws already on the books and a population conditioned to accept gross abuses of state power in the service of some spurious link to a greater good. They might even have – worst of all – a population desperate for change, baying for blood and with hate speech laws on the books. Then it’s a simple matter of adjusting the definition of hate to “speech against nation/race/ruler” and we have another genocide on our hands.

Beating the authoritarian right will require that we intelligently encourage avenues of freedom that take people away from the left-authoritarian/right-authoritarian cycle. If we love freedom more than we love our own delusions that we can perfect the world by force, then we can accept that working towards libertarianism is a worthwhile goal, regardless of whether it’s left or right in form.

This will require that the ruling powers guarantee the cognitive liberty of the people. In particular this means to keep the Internet free, to keep artistic expression unrestricted, to keep the press free and to refuse all punitive forms of drug prohibition.

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VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future III

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The second chapter of Own Your Future is titled ‘Tax’. Seymour opens with a complaint about wasteful government spending, citing the example of Gerry Brownlee flying to San Francisco on the taypayer’s dollar for a photo op. Indeed this was an appalling waste of money for no benefit to the nation, but Seymour leaps from this fact to the tacit assumption that all tax money is likewise wasted.

Seymour is right when he says it’s stupid that the Government is running surpluses while the average New Zealand household is at record levels of debt. The solution is, naturally, lower taxes. Here Seymour makes a sharp distinction between “our own” money, and “another person’s” money. Not for him the interdependence of all things. In Seymour’s world, there are very clear lines over who owns what.

Government takes in taxes equal to 40% of GDP, Seymour notes – “exclusively” another person’s money. Seymour doesn’t agree with the idea that the state is the most efficient provider of many services on account of the economies of scale afforded by its unique size. For him, the Government is merely a parasitic entity that sucks tax money out of hard-working Kiwis and wastes it frivolously.

Breaking step with the usual neoliberal choice of target, Seymour points out that there is a tremendous amount of corporate welfare in New Zealand as well. This only lasts for a few sentences, because he’s soon back to crying about taxation. Bracket creep comes in for particular ire – for Seymour, the wealthy aren’t getting a big enough share of the spoils of economic growth.

True to being a politician, he is dishonest. He claims that bracket creep happens because wages rise (which is true) but he also claims that wages rise to meet the increase in the price of consumer goods. The truth is that wages are not linked to the inflation of consumer goods – they are a function of the relative leverage that the employer has over the employee. When consumer goods become more expensive, this gives the employee absolutely no additional leverage through which they can negotiate a higher wage with their employer. If anything, it gives them less leverage because the lower standard of living makes them more desperate to settle.

In one paragraph, Seymour abandons even the pretense of reasoning and simply lists American libertarian slogans: “High tax rates… drag the economy down”, “people spend their money better than governments do”, “Money goes more good in the private sector than in the public sector.” Again one senses the cold shadow of the millions starved to death by Communism.

Seymour makes some good and fair points when he talks about the bureaucratic waste in the system. The problem is that this waste is the only thing he sees – all Government spending is hip-hop tours and junkets to San Francisco. He will not acknowledge that tax money is used for anything good, or that taxpayers get anything back for their tax money. National are the good guys because they levy less tax; Labour are bad and the Greens are the worst of all.

It’s hard to disagree, however, when he complains about the top tax bracket being $70,000. One doesn’t have to be wealthy to concede that someone earning $70,000 a year is far from loaded.

In all, one feels that Seymour is capable of making some good points but has a dishonest method for selecting and presenting them to the reader. Despite that, it’s easily arguable that Seymour and his party are tasked with playing an important role in New Zealand politics – that of keeping a check on Government waste – even though they are apologists for neoliberalism.

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Will Drinking Alcohol Still Be Popular In 50 Years?

Booze: it’s kind of crap, and it’s time we moved on to better drugs

A lot of really stupid things have fallen out of fashion in recent decades, and for good reason. Smoking tobacco is now uncommon, because we’re now much more aware of the deleterious effects than we used to be, and seeing someone riding a motorcycle without a helmet is rare too. This article asks the question: will drinking alcohol still form the basis of Western social interaction in half a century?

Let’s face it: the only reason we drink a lot is habit. It’s not because alcohol is good, and it’s not because alcohol is safe. Alcohol isn’t really good because there are plenty of other common drugs that are better: MDMA is a better entactogen, cannabis is more relaxing, opium is better for getting wasted with. It’s also not safe, for reasons that are obvious to anyone who has spent time around drunks.

No – the reason why we drink a lot is because our parents did, and they drank because their parents did, and so on, and in every case it’s true that people drank alcohol because that’s just what people did. For thousands of years, the ancestors of Westerners knocked back the booze – they didn’t know about the relationship between alcohol and heart disease, liver failure or cancer, because people seldom lived long enough to be affected by such things.

Moreover, there are large capital interests that are tied up in alcohol manufacture and sales. The alcohol industry is easily big enough to buy off politicians at the national level – and they do. These politicians have been more than happy to stop any competitor to alcohol getting established, which is why our recreational drug scene is soaked with booze (and thereby with the violence, sluttiness, vomiting and hangovers that inevitably accompany the alcohol experience).

These factors might very soon stop having an impact. The changing drug market scene has smashed the duopoly over the recreational drug market that alcohol once enjoyed along with tobacco. Not only are there now over a dozen territories where cannabis is properly legal, but the rise of dark markets on the Internet has made it possible for people anywhere to access a wide variety of drugs without needing anything more than a postal address.

There have also been more sinister undertones to the historical promotion of alcohol use.

From the earliest days of the Age of Colonialism, European traders were aware of the destructive effect that alcohol (usually in the form of rum) had on the natives of the New World. There was no need to shoot them when you could simply trade them some booze and watch them destroy themselves. Although it was not appreciated at the time, alcohol was effectively able to be used as a bioweapon by the Europeans.

This was because they had developed a genetic resistance to alcohol over thousands of years of exposure, while the natives had not. Over the past several thousand years, because Europeans were getting drunk much of the time, there was a selective pressure against those who misbehaved while drunk. Anyone who became excessively violent or stupid while drunk was liable to delete themselves, and their genes, from the gene pool. Over time, therefore, Europeans adapted to behave relatively tamely when intoxicated.

So when the European traders introduced alcohol to the delicate psychobiological balance of the New World, it had a similar effect to a hand grenade. Alcoholism has destroyed the native peoples of North America, South America, Australia and Polynesia. If European complicity in this was widely accepted and owned up to, the need to legalise recreational alternatives to alcohol would become obvious.

Given all of these factors, it has to be asked whether the widespread consumption of alcohol is something that will continue much further into the future. It can already be observed that the youngest generation is abandoning alcohol en masse, usually for cannabis but sometimes for other substances that can be easily be obtained: MDMA or research chemicals are popular alternatives.

Global recreational drug culture this century is more likely to revolve around cannabis for the reasons described. Cannabis is something that people of all nations and races can enjoy equally without any sense of cultural advantage, unlike alcohol, which is really the white man’s drug. It can already be seen (in the few places they exist) that cannabis cafes serve as places where people of many cultures come together in harmony and good cheer.

As awareness of the harms of alcohol spreads, as recreational alternatives become increasingly available and as world culture moves further away from a Eurocentric model, it’s possible that the prominence of alcohol in our culture diminishes in the same way tobacco did. It’s hard to imagine now, but there are good reasons to think that hardly anyone will still be regularly drinking alcohol in 50 years’ time.

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Is It Time to Nationalise Empty, Foreign-Owned Houses in New Zealand?

It isn’t fair that Kiwis sleep on the streets while houses sit empty because their foreign owners are gambling on the New Zealand housing market

As seen by its climbdowns on the TPPA, on medicinal cannabis and on immigration, the Sixth Labour Government lacks courage. This means that the time has come to make some truly bold suggestions. Given that our homelessness crisis has long ago reached critical status, it’s time for a bold solution to the housing shortage. This essay proposes that we nationalise all empty, foreign-owned houses to provide shelter for our own people.

The state of homelessness can be summed up by the fact that there are believed to be 24,000 homeless in Auckland alone. This gives New Zealand by far the worst homelessness rate in the OECD, a list which includes much warmer and poorer countries like Mexico.

Per capita, our homelessness rate is far worse than the second-placed Czech Republic and around twice that of Australia, despite that it’s much easier to be homeless in the Australian climate. It’s gone beyond being a national disgrace, to the point where it is threatening our status as a developed country with a functioning society. It’s time to consider extreme measures.

It’s hard to get an accurate figure on the number of New Zealand homes owned by foreigners. The people making most of the profit off selling them have a vested interest in restricting awareness of, and information about, their activities. However, we can make educated guesses.

A 2016 census revealed that over 8% of Vancouver homes are unoccupied. From the same link, we can see that slightly fewer than 6% of Vancouver homes are both unoccupied and owned by foreigners. So roughly two-thirds of empty homes in Vancouver are also owned by foreign residents.

There are believed to be 33,000 empty houses in Auckland, with others saying 35,000. If two-thirds of those houses are both empty and owned by foreigners, that makes for 22,000 homes – about the same number as there are homeless people in Auckland.

The Vancouver solution so far is to charge a 1% property tax on an annual basis for every Vancouver property left unoccupied. This amounts to $10,000 in taxes for a million-dollar property. Vancouver is infamous for its overheated housing market and perhaps represents an extreme case, but the basic principle is the same as in Auckland: most of these foreigners are speculators who have parked money in real estate for the capital gains, and they have no interest whatsoever in the ability of the locals to find affordable housing.

The question naturally arises: if there are so many foreign residents who are keeping houses empty purely for the sake of making a profit, and so many Kiwis who are going homeless because of the shortage of available housing, why be satisfied with a tiny bit of tax as compensation for the damage done? Why not nationalise empty houses that are owned by foreign residents?

Nationalisation could proceed on the grounds that owning a house in New Zealand and deliberately keeping it empty is a crime, in much the same way as owning a business and refusing to serve a customer on the basis of their race is already a crime.

Deliberately keeping a house empty when there is a housing shortage would therefore be declared to be a crime equivalent to refusing to stop to ascertain injury at the site of a motor vehicle accident. In other words, it would be an action that represented a criminal level of disregard for the well-being of the people of this nation.

The logical punishment would be forfeiture of the property.

After nationalisation, the houses would simply be added to the existing Housing New Zealand stock as an asset on the balance sheet. From there, Housing New Zealand would proceed to treat them as regular state houses, and they would be rented out or apportioned to the needy as was necessary to meet their needs for shelter.

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The Northcote By-Election Result is Fraudulent and Illegitimate

Northcote by-election candidate Dan Bidois was crowned the winner, despite only getting the support of 21% of eligible voters

The reason why our ruling class have the right to rule, so they claim, is because they have the consent of the masses. But the winner of yesterday’s Northcote by-election and newly crowned Member of Parliament, Dan Bidois, did not have the consent of the masses. Therefore, the Northcote by-election result is fraudulent and illegitimate.

19,900 people cast a vote in the Northcote by-election. According to the Northcote Electoral Profile on the Parliamentary Profiles page, there are 49,569 eligible voters in that electorate. This tells us that barely more than 40% of eligible voters chose to participate in the democratic process – something like 30,000 people abstained.

The question then has to be asked: how is the election of Bidois to the House of Representatives legitimate, when fewer than half of eligible voters took part in the election process? If so few people believed that the democratic process was worth participating in, isn’t that sufficient evidence that it has failed, that its claims of legitimacy are fraudulent?

Bidois himself won 10,147 votes in the by-election, which amounts to almost 21% of the eligible voters in Northcote. If no-one cares about the election, how can the winner of it legitimately claim to have any power to rule anyone? Any reasonable person can see that this is absurd. We can’t possibly know what the electorate wants unless we canvas the non-voters.

One candidate, Liam Walsh of Not A Party, ran specifically on the non-vote. His platform was that democracy has failed and is inherently corrupt (hard to deny) and that it would be better for us to scrap it entirely and work together instead of using the democratic system to try and fuck each other over.

After all, as a National MP, Dan Bidois will immediately work towards the further enslavement of the young, the Maori and the working class. Walsh notes that Bidois came second to an empty seat.

One wonders what would happen if those 60% of adults in Northcote who do not feel represented by New Zealand’s peculiar imitation of democracy gave their allegiance to Walsh instead of to the central government.

What if, instead of paying taxes to the IRD to piss up the wall on flag referendums, yacht races, imprisoning medicinal cannabis growers and importing Somali rapists, people paid no taxes, and we had neither flag referendums nor a justice system putting people in cages for growing medicinal plants?

Some might respond that having no democratic government will leave the community unable to solve problems that require collective solutions, but Dan Bidois, with his 21% support, sure as fuck isn’t going to be solving them either. He, like the majority of backbenchers, will stick his nose straight up the arsehole of his party’s leader, in this case Simon Bridges, and he will keep it wedged there as long as the National Party hierarchy is responsible for his meal ticket. As a consequence he will vote to enforce National Party policy and dogma – not the will of the Northcote electorate.

A democratic election that gets 40% turnout cannot claim to return a legitimate ruler. The vast majority of the Northcote electorate did not consent to being represented by Bidois; therefore, his being in the House of Representatives is no more legitimate than it would have been if the CIA had helped him raise an army that seized power through force.

After all, a foreign-backed dictatorship might even gain the consent of more than 21% of the population – assuming it put a sufficiently enlightened person on the throne – which would make it no less legitimate than yesterday’s by-election.

If the democratic process is rejected by a majority of the people, then it’s time to get together and to think up a new political philosophy that adequately represents them. It’s apparent from the fact that New Zealand clings to cannabis prohibition, a policy supported by almost no-one, that the will of the people is not represented by the law enacted by their rulers. This failure to represent the people’s will is evidence that democracy has failed and needs to be superceded.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future II

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The first real chapter of Own Your Future is titled ‘Housing’. The degree to which Seymour is out of touch comes through again immediately, when he states a belief that an “ordinary” New Zealand family is one that owns 50ha of land. His maths seems fair when he calculates the deficit of new houses, but it is notable where he lays the blame.

Seymour is willing to appeal to “basic economics” when he points out the factors restricting the supply of housing – in particular red tape – but basic economics does not seem to apply to the demand side of the equation. Following the neoliberal playbook closely, Seymour dismisses entirely the idea that migration could make a contribution to the increase in house prices.

His logic here is curious. New Zealand’s waves of migration “have not caused food prices to double, for example”. He is comfortable with concluding therefore that “there is no evidence that immigration has increased the price of commodities”. It’s certainly an unusually high standard for a variable to need to double a second variable before it can be said to have caused it to increase.

This line of reasoning can be explained by a study conducted by Dan McGlashan, in which he found that Asians voted for the ACT Party at higher rates than anyone else. No doubt Seymour is wary of placing any blame on immigration because that’s how most of his voters got here.

Perhaps through some effort of will, Seymour holds off on mentioning the Resource Management Act until the sixth page of the essay. This is invoked to take all the blame for rising house prices. He points out that, 30 years ago, the bottom 20% of the population paid 27% of their income in rent, whereas now they pay 54%. This is a fair comment but it’s not clear that all of the blame for this necessarily lies with the RMA.

Seymour repeats the claim that only 0.8% of the land area of New Zealand is urbanised, but doesn’t mention how this compares to other countries or who benefits from raising this percentage. How does the average Kiwi benefit from urbanising more of the country for the sake of letting in more immigrants? It isn’t said.

He goes further, pillorying the Greens’ proposal to limit immigration to an increase of 1% of the population every year. Even an immigration rate of 1% is enough to double the population of the country before the end of the century. This is very interesting if one considers that the people of New Zealand have never asked for the Government to increase the population at all, much less double it.

The most striking thing about this essay on housing is that Seymour never refers to the experience of overseas countries that have had similar housing crises. Housing in Sydney, Melbourne and London has increased in price much like Auckland – do they have RMAs constricting the supply of housing? Seymour doesn’t say. What has happened in other jurisdictions that have implemented his suggestions? He doesn’t say.

One gets the feeling from this essay that Seymour is a dedicated supporter of neoliberalism, but does not feel the need to back up his assertions with real-world examples, preferring instead to use rhetoric.

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What Would the Average Hourly Wage Be in New Zealand If Wages Had Kept Up With House Prices?

New Zealand is torn by inter-generational tension right now. The young have no hope of finding houses they can afford and the old simply blame them for being too lazy to work hard enough to afford one. However, the numbers show that workers today get a much worse deal than they did 30 years ago. This article looks at what the average wage in New Zealand would be if it had kept pace with the price of houses since the late 1980s.

This graph from the Trading Economics website tracks the increase in the New Zealand Average Hourly Wage over the past 30 years. We can see that the average hourly wage in New Zealand, as of the beginning of 2018, is $31.03. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand website contains many interesting statistics and graphs, many of which can be downloaded from this link. This article will combine both sources.

In March of 2001, the House Price Index (from the RBNZ link above) stood at 700.2. At this time, the average hourly wage was $17.70. So if a person wished to purchase a $300,000 house, suitable for a growing family, they would have to have capital equal to 16,949 hours of work at the average wage.

According to this article by Human Resources Director, Kiwis work an average of 1,762 hours a year (this figure was for 2014, but for cultural reasons this figure does not change much over time). This means that, in March of 2001, buying a house suitable for raising a family in required capital equal to 9.62 years of full-time work at the average wage.

How does that compare to today?

After seventeen years of red-hot growth, the House Price Index now stands at 2480.8. This represents an increase of 254% over those seventeen years, and it means that a $300,000 house in March 2001 now costs $1,062,000 (all growth factors assumed equal). As mentioned above, the average hourly wage in New Zealand has increased from $17.70 in that time to $31.03, which represents an increase of 75%.

In other words, in January of 2018, buying a $1,062,000 house, suitable for raising a family in, requires capital equal to 34,224 hours of working at the average hourly wage. This is equivalent to 19.42 years of work at the average hourly wage.

We can see, then, that when measured in terms of a person’s ability to purchase a house suitable for raising a family in, the average New Zealander is less than half as wealthy as they were only 17 years ago. To have the same house buying power that it had in 2001, an average wage in New Zealand would now have to be $62.65 per hour.

People working in 1989 – when the majority of Baby Boomers would have been in the workforce – had it even better still. In December of 1989 the House Price Index stood at 453.5; the average hourly wage stood at $13.07 in the first quarter of that year.

So our standard family home that cost $300,000 in 2001 cost a mere 64.8% of that price in 1989, whereas the average wage in 1989 was 73.8% of what it was in 2001. Put another way, the average house suitable for raising a family in cost $194,400 in 1989, which represented capital equal to 14,873 hours of labour at the average wage. This was equivalent to a mere 8.44 years of saved labour.

The average house price has gone up 447% over the past 30 years in New Zealand; the average hourly wage has gone up 137% in that time. So to have the same house-buying power as the average New Zealand worker in 1989, a Kiwi in 2018 would have to get paid $71.50 an hour. This would allow them to buy a decent house after saving around 14,000 hours of the average wage, which is the standard of living that the average worker had in 1989.

In summary, the average New Zealand worker has lost almost 60% of the house-buying power of their wage over the past 30 years.

Buying a decent house in 2018 costs savings equal to 19.42 years of work at the average wage; 30 years ago buying an equivalent quality of housing cost savings equal to 8.44 years of work. So if a Kiwi left home at age 18 in 1970 and saved half of their income on the average wage they could own a house by age 35; a Kiwi who left home at age 18 in the year 2000 and saved half of their income on the average wage can’t expect to own one before they turn 57.

Despite tiny relative savings on consumer electronics, it’s obvious that the standard of living for young people is much lower nowadays than it was 30 years ago. The fact that wages haven’t come close to keeping up with housing costs is the main culprit.

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the statistical pulse of New Zealand. His magnum opus, Understanding New Zealand, is the complete demographic analysis of the Kiwi people. Available on TradeMe for $35.60.

The Key to Generating Wealth is Artificial Scarcity

Artificially restricting the common property of the masses drives up the price of private holdings of capital

Work hard, and you’ll get rich. All Westerners have been told this since we were small children – and it used to be true. Back in the days when there was natural scarcity, this made sense, because what was lacking was productive capacity. Now that human productive capacity is effectively infinite (at least when it comes to meeting physical demands), economics works on a different basis – that of artificial scarcity.

The definition of artificial scarcity is “the scarcity of items even though either the technology and production, or sharing capacity, exists to create a theoretically limitless abundance”. Many people have noted that the productive capacity already exists on Planet Earth to create a theoretically limitless abundance of most things, and the reason why we don’t already have it is a matter of politics.

Understanding artificial scarcity is a matter of understanding that every financial transaction is a matter of leverage, and that leverage is a matter of the supply of that good or service, and that the supply of any good or service is a function of its scarcity (or of the scarcity of its basic constituents).

Looked at another way, the more scarce a good or service can be made, the more desperate people will become in order to obtain that good or service, which means the purveyor of it has more leverage, and the price of that good or service will therefore increase. Once your own supply of a particular good or service is ensured, profit can be increased by restricting supply of it to everyone else.

Strangling someone to get them to give up their wallet is an example of inducing artificial scarcity, in this case a scarcity of oxygen to the brain. Understanding this extortionate power is key to understanding the whole point.

In a state of Nature, people are free to hunt and gather from the commons to which all land belongs. There is therefore no such thing as artificial scarcity, because all scarcity is natural. Today, however, because everything has been enclosed, fenced off, walled off, there are no longer any commons, and consequently there is a massive artificial scarcity of food, whether game meat or gathered fruits, nuts, berries, mushrooms etc.

This artificial scarcity of food has created immense scope for profits for the land-owning class. The masses who had their land taken must now serve those who took it in order to get enough of that wealth to live. There is such an immense scarcity of land that anyone with an enforceable claim to own it can become rich by simply charging rent, because there will always be someone with a productive enterprise that needs land on which to operate, and they will pay rent.

In other words, the people continue to work the land for sustenance as they always have done, but now that sustenance passes through an intermediary (the landowner) who takes as big of a cut as they see fit (possibly subject to anti-exploitation laws), and leaves the remainder for the workers. Thus it can be seen that artificial scarcity can arise as a form of gangsterism.

Artificial scarcity is usually defended by those who profit from it, and from the sycophantic dogs who are happy to take a slice of that profit in exchange for enforcing it on the masses. To the extent that these two groups hold power in society, artificial scarcity will exist.

Ever since the Industrial Revolution made it cheap to produce everything, those who wished to gain political and economic control over the masses switched the emphasis from helping those masses overcome natural scarcity to imposing upon them artificial scarcity. George Orwell wrote about this in 1984, when he had Emmanuel Goldstein write about how politicians need to destroy surplus production in order to keep the populace under control.

Speaking as the author of The Theory And Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, Orwell teaches that the main motive for introducing artificial scarcity is political power. If the people have a surplus of goods and services, their standard of living will rise. As their standard of living rises, it becomes increasingly possible for motivated individuals among them to become educated and free-thinking, and, consequently, to become the sort of person who will challenge the control system.

Defending the control system, therefore, requires that the people are impoverished.

An excellent example of artificial scarcity in the modern world relates to housing. The Baby Boomer generation have realised – now that they own all the houses – that by increasing demand for those houses (through mass immigration) while simultaneously decreasing demand for them (such as refusing to build new ones or restricting access to old ones through tricks such as New Zealand’s meth house scam), they can push the younger generations into more desperation and thereby a weaker negotiating position.

Tightening the supply of housing is like tightening the grip around the throat of the young who are desperate for it – which is how the Boomers are now able to extract so much rent.

Cannabis prohibition is another good example. By artificially restricting the people’s access to cannabis, the politicians gave great leverage to their friends in the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries, who had one fewer competitor for monopoly of the recreational drug and medicine markets, respectively. The cannabis laws also have the benefit of primarily destroying black, brown, young, poor and freethinking people, which further entrenches the power hierarchy.

So getting rich isn’t about working hard anymore – it’s about getting your fingers around the throat of someone who does.

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