30 July 2012


Once there was a man who had a special memory-bank chip attached to his head. It was great, because he could store all sorts of memories in there, like about his childhood, and they wouldn't clutter up his busy mind. And then he could trot them out whenever he needed someone to hear them - like the story about what a great self-made, decent, honest, family-loving, God-fearing man he was. There are, after all, certain things about which we always need to remind people. What was also great about the memory-banks, though, was that he could simply plug it into his private laptop and erase from it any memories that were inconveniently getting in the way of performing his God-appointed duties. If anyone accused him of conveniently forgetting facts that were disturbing his business, he could genuinely, with a straight face, even to a police officer, say that he'd truly forgotten them, cross his heart and point to God, because those dashedly inconvenient memories had been compartmentalised and truly erased forever.
Then one day he met a rather unusual man who had a dotcom web-address and who saw it as his job to store every darned piece of data in the world that anyone wanted to store for any reason whatsoever, provided they were willing to pay. The dotcom memory-cloud grew and grew like a huge black storm-cloud until some very rich people began to see this storage device as a threat to their greedy way of life and they started plotting to throw him in jail.
Well, the two men met and swapped anecdotes about their lives and about their various memory-devices. They became great buddies and pledged to help each other out when in need.
But the guy with the great big memory-cloud had stored away some of those inconvenient facts that the guy with the removable memory-banks chip might want to erase. So when the big memory-cloud guy got thrown in jail by the rich guys, and the memory-banks guy took the necessary steps to erase any memory that he'd ever met him, their friendship came to a stormy end. Mr Memorybanks was simply unable to recall details about his former friendship, but his former friend hadn't forgotten a thing.
To be continued... But be warned, dear reader, such a story does not have a happy ending.

25 July 2012

Why I won't be buying shares in state-owned assets

Buying shares in state-owned assets is an appropriation of assets, presently owned in trust for all New Zealanders, by individuals for their private gain (dividends and likely gain in share price). Those with savings will effectively be profiting at the expense those who are unable to buy shares. The latter will subsidize the sales process as taxpayers, and will also contribute to the income streams of the power-generators through their power-bills. Thus, the sales of these shares gives effect to an upward reallocation of wealth and income from the poor to the rich (or at least from those with no spare savings to those with savings and a willingness to buy the shares). We've seen too much of this kind of inequality-producing policy, and the long-term social and economic damage should be painfully obvious by now. So, I believe it's unethical and socially irresponsible to participate in this sale.
Further, the sales do nothing for economic growth. They are not adding any new productive capacity or employment to our economy; they are only hocking off an existing set of productive assets. This will set off a feeding-frenzy for the wealthy to gobble up shares and profits. But it won't result in lower power prices for those left behind, as the shareholders will demand their dividends! This sets the interests of one class of New Zealanders against another, and deepens the divisions in our society.
So, I won't be in the market for the shares personally.