Thursday, August 4, 2011

Let Them Eat Shares

Okay, so on Tuesday night we watched Inside Job. I was prepared to be angry, but what my over-whelming feeling actually was, was fear. In spite of being an idealist and an optimist, I think I'm fairly realistic about the world I live in. But now, I'm not sure I know anything about people, unless those I saw in the film are some other species. But what I think the film really reinforced to me was how much capitalism has to answer for. When we make money god, the like of Allan Greenspan become our priests and we are at their mercy; what they are doing is simply a result of capitalism. We can try to change our habits and our laws, but what we really need to look at is the structure of society.

Anyway, I'm very excited to present my first ever guest-post, written by Vincent. I haven't read it yet so what I just wrote which was supposed to be an introduction might be completely irrelevant (my brief was very broad: "that" after something he said when the movie finished), but no matter.


If National wins the election they’re going to sell off some of our biggest state-owned assets (Meridian, Mighty River Power, Genesis and Solid Energy). Luckily for us, this policy can be summarised with a very simple (and highly patronising) baking analogy.

Selling the cake.

Our little bakery is broke, and we’re borrowing a lot of money to pay the bills. If that supply of money runs out, we’re in the shit. Luckily, we’ve got this special cake that makes us money, and does all these useful things for us just by sitting in the window (this is a stretch, but for this shitty analogy to work, it has to be a special cake). So we’re going to sell 49% of our special cake to make sure our credit rating stays healthy - so the people who lend us all this money at the moment still think we’re a good investment (people have stopped lending money to some other European bakeries that apparently look a bit like ours, and we don’t want that to happen to us).

However, selling 49% of our cake probably won’t help much; instead of a whole cake, we’d just have half a cake, and half a cake’s worth of money. So no better off in that respect. We’d also have lost the opportunity to ever make money from that second half of the special cake ever again. It’s unlikely that anybody would be terribly impressed by this. Certainly not impressed enough to lend us more money. It looks like the kind of thing you might do if your little bakery had a fire. The only way anybody might be impressed is if we used our new cake money to invest in a more profitable special cake, but that’s not part of the plan either, because we’re using the cake money to buy some new Internet cables.

Also, the cake is currently owned by everybody, rich or poor, because our little bakery owns the cake and we elect and pay all the bakers (sick of this yet?), so we’ve all got a little say in what the cake does, and what we do with the money that our cake makes. The National party says this won’t change, because they’ll offer the shares to something called Mum & Dad Investors, which means, Mums & Dads with enough spare money to buy shares, which is of course, rich people. Working class families can’t go around buying some magic fucking cake when they can’t afford to buy breakfast for their kids, or put petrol in their car (if they still had one…), and why the fuck should they, they already own the cake in the first place.

Also, there’s nothing stopping these Super-Parents from selling their little piece of the special cake to rich people overseas as soon possible. This is exactly what happened the last time our little bakery sold our special cakes back in the 1980s.

AND, the reason some of these Super-Parents can even afford their piece of special cake is because the National Party gave them all tax cuts a few years ago, AND raised GST (which is the why the other poor parents definitely can’t buy any cake). It’s also part of the reason we’re selling this fucking cake in the first place. The Labour party has come up with a different way to solve this money problem and (thankfully) it has nothing to do with cake.


(But he'll be back.)

(Image from

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