Why we do what we do and what we believe

Why we do what we do in the New Economics Party

We believe that a political economy should be like a living organism and obey the laws of Nature. It should have both protection mechanisms to protect us from harm and growth opportunities to allow everyone to develop and specialise. In a healthy organism there are jobs for every cell and organ. It should have a thriving economy fuelled by the energy of money yet constrained by the limits of Nature. We believe the human species is part of Nature not there to dominate it. The riches of Nature and our heritage must be fairly shared and wisely managed.

Cooperation for common good
We believe in the collective power of good people to work for our common purpose and we refuse to say, “Change isn’t possible”. We know in our bones that the design of an economy is the critical factor needed to sustain and nourish life on this beautiful planet and that that like the 50 trillion cells in our bodies, seven billion people can actually work cooperatively without poverty, climate crises or war. We must do it or else perish as a species. Failure is not an option.

We are audacious enough to believe that people of every colour and creed can live together in peace with their basic needs met. With our collective refugee population now amounting to millions, it is time to address the causes of the injustices causing war, for without justice there will be no peace. We are adamant that every person has the right to the basics of life – a safe warm home, nourishing food, education health care and a sense of belonging.

We are one with our habitat
We believe that a political economy designed along the laws of Nature doesn’t result in the belching of greenhouse gases into a warming planet. We are impatient to protect our grandchildren from ever worsening storms, droughts and food shortages. After the wakeup calls of climate change and gross inequality, there is no time to waste trying to dominate and subdue Nature. Our country and indeed the world must be subservient to Nature and listen to her wisdom. Our laws and our human created currencies and structures must be in line with Nature’s laws. Only then can we live in harmony, solve climate change and live happily with our families free from war and Nature’s ravages. Nature bats first and last.

Biomimcry
We believe it is imperative to design a political economy that is both elegant and simple. Add-on policies like Working for Families or Accommodation Supplements are simply signs that the basic design is poor. We want a simple tax system, not one full of ways to avoid tax and only serving to employ bureaucrats and accountants. We won’t tolerate a benefit system that invites dishonesty and penalises thrift and cooperation.

Honouring the Treaty
We recognise that Te Tiriti o Waitangi is a living treaty that must constantly be honoured. We understand the pain of colonisation of the Maori people by the British and will work cooperatively with Maori at each hapu and iwi level to work out policies in line with our principles. We acknowledge the injustice of the forced change to privately owned land that was brought by colonisers. We acknowledge the pain of a new money system on Maori and the need to pay tax in that currency.

We acknowledge the catch 22 demands of collective land ownership and the demands of the banking system for collateral for loans that has locked Maori outside the mainstream economy, generating an inability to finance productive investment in Maori enterprise for the last 175 years and that still ongoing. We understand the ongoing dispute between local government and Maori about unpaid rates originates from this demand.

We acknowledge the contribution Maori culture has made to the wider New Zealand culture, and the contribution it may yet make as pakeha are ready to receive – in particular the understanding of reciprocity in economic relations (sometimes known as utu) that underpins sustainable economy and sustainability per se.

We acknowledge the destructiveness of forced aggregation of Maori interests to iwi level that has resulted in the corporatization of ownership of Maori resources and consequent alienation of the bulk of the Maori population from those resources.

Energy transfer
The lifeblood of an economy is its flow of money. We believe we must take full control of our money systems – that is the sovereign right of any country. No longer will we allow commercial banks to create and control our money supply and gamble with our deposits, while they are poised to leave the innocent depositors to pick up the mess if they fail. We reserve the right to design the currencies we need.

Diversity, recycling
Everything manufactured is sourced as close as possible to where it is needed, and recycled for a no-waste economy. In a natural economy nobody will go hungry or homeless. Every individual is of worth and has the right to meaningful work. Nobody will be neglected, living in cars or crowded homes while others amass wealth they do not need. That is not Nature’s way.

Redistribution
Without revenue neither central nor local government can build infrastructure, schools and hospitals. The revenue we aim should tax the exclusive use of the commons (in its wider sense). Everyone should have the inalienable right to a share of the common wealth so the rents from the commons are be shared by distributing Citizens Dividends. Nobody should own the earth, water or fisheries or anything left to us by our ancestors.

Governance
A living system is a self-organising organism with a multitude of feedback and feed-forward mechanisms in a state of tension and negotiation till equilibrium is established. So we believe that decisions must not all be made centrally but all over the country. Local and national government must constantly be negotiating. We want strong communities with the inalienable right to elect their own decision makers; the fundamental unit of government must be a powerful Community Board.

Cities
We won’t tolerate sprawling cities with an elite landed class occupying desirable land near good schools and regular transport while those on the outskirts must wake early, leave their children and catch two buses to unsatisfying low paid jobs. For parents of young children two hours commuting is not conducive to anyone’s wellbeing. We can do better. We want compact walkable cities with efficient rapid transit without the use of fossil fuels. We understand that economic signals like rating systems and tax systems are driving our irrational behaviour. That is no way to plan a city.

We want local and national governments to have sufficient reliable income to pay for rapid transit, education and healthcare – revenue derived from charging a full rent on the exclusive use of the commons in its wider sense. Taxing the good things is not an option – it’s illogical to tax work, sales or enterprise. We will not watch on while governments struggle for revenue, people work long hours while property owners grow rich on the rising price of land.

Managing borders
We believe firmly in our national sovereignty. Although we know how to control our borders when it comes to pests and threats to our agriculture we don’t yet know how to control our borders when it comes to money. While hot money sloshes round the globe in search of higher returns and international trade agreements are written largely by the corporations that rule the world, we will not rest. We demand our country’s freedom to make laws without fear of being sued by a foreign corporation in a secret offshore tribunal.

New Zealand’s opportunity
We believe New Zealand with its small educated population and rich resources has an obligation to be a model of how to run a vibrant and exciting post fossil fuel economy where entrepreneurs can truly thrive and nobody is left uneducated or in poverty.

http://neweconomics.net.nz


The 1-3% inflation target is really a circulation incentive and we need to read Gesell instead

The other morning on the radio I distinctly heard a senior politician say that the economy wasn’t going well ‘because the inflation rate was too low at below 1%’.

I thought I was hearing things. Indeed someone coming to Earth from Mars might ask a few questions. Presuming inflation is a bad thing and it is now near zero, why then is the economy not going swimmingly?

Then I remembered what I had recently learnt – that economists had designed a 1-3% inflation target as an ideal because you had to have some incentive to spend today or the economy would seize up. You didn’t want inflation too high, but a low rate of inflation is acceptable and even necessary simply because otherwise people hold on to their money and nobody spends. They realise that goods will be dearer tomorrow – if only by a little – so they decide to spend now rather than wait.

Goodness, how few people know this. And how it is becoming exposed now that the inflation is below 1% in more than one of the developed nations.

Now land was taken out of the CPI in 1999 as you can see in this graph.inflation NZ

Yes the graph makes good sense. With land safely out of the CPI, economists can brag that their target has been achieved for a consistently long period. And you had the huge land bubble of 2002-2008 never recorded in the CPI and then again the land bubble of 2011 onwards completely out of the graph.

So putting aside this statistical sleight of hand, we also know now that the national currency must have a circulation incentive. (That is under the current currency design of money created as interest bearing debt)

As we collectively head blindly into a period of deflation of unknown length and pain, we must pay attention to the writings of Silvio Gesell, a far thinking German businessman who also lived during a Depression in the 1880s in Argentina. His book The Natural Economic Order has been translated and put online for all to read. Of him Keynes said “The world will owe more to Gesell than it does to Marx”.

Gesell realised that a businessman with goods is at a disadvantage from those holding money. While the goods decayed, rotted and generally went out of date as they waited for someone to buy them, the money retained its value. Those in possession of money were better off than those who had goods. He famously wrote: “Only money that goes out of date like a newspaper, rots like potatoes, rusts like iron, evaporates like ether, is capable of standing the test as an instrument for the exchange of potatoes, newspapers, iron and ether.”

After decades of having loyal followers, during the 1930’s depression, Gesell’s theory was put into practice, but only briefly because the banks managed to persuade the government to stop it. It was in the small town of Wōrgl, Austria 1932 that the Mayor put aside 20,000 schillings and used them as backing for notes called Work Certificates. They paid their employees partly in Work Certificates. Each note had 12 spaces on the back and a stamp had to be stuck on every month to validate the note. To avoid paying for the stamp people spent the Work Certificates quickly. The currency was successful at reducing unemployment, so much so that people came from miles around to witness the Miracle of Wōrgl. It was in place 15 months before the government made it illegal and they went back to unemployment.


Modernising the Georgist ‘doctrine’ without using the words “land value tax”

41bQo1jRHqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_In Land a New Paradigm for a Thriving World, Martin Adams has spelled out his philosophy that no one should make a profit from owning land. He has carefully and thoughtfully reframed the Georgist ‘doctrine’ for a modern era and developed a clear new language. For example here is a classic sentence: ‘What most people don’t yet realise is that the value of land is best shared, and that whenever we profit from land we profit from society.”

Martin is no slave to doctrine and clearly thinks out the issues for himself. He sees the vision. “Once we being to share this value with one another, we have the opportunity to unleash a cultural, technological, ecological, and even spiritual renaissance that will liberate us in ways we can’t imagine.”

And – great news – Martin is no centralist. He understands that revenue must flow from the periphery to the centre, not the other way round. So he talks of land moving into a Community Land Trust and people then paying a Community Land Contribution. Some of the revenue stays local and the rest is passed upwards to other levels of government.

From his description of how to prevent urban sprawl to his chapter on using farmland efficiently, Martin challenges us to think in a fresh way.

Thoughout this valuable little book Martin has steadfastly refused to use the word ‘tax’ , arguing it implies that the people being taxed have to part with something that belongs to them. “Land value taxes”, he says, “are still rooted in the paradigm of private land ownership.”

The questions arising from this book regarding the practicalities of some of his suggested solution remain to be tackled. Martin, being so honest and so curious, will no doubt ask more questions, talk to more people and develop more politically realistic solutions. It’s monumental task. I have no doubt he will make an even bigger contribution in the future. Watch this space!

Charles Eisenstein, Thom Hartman and Peter Barnes don’t just recommend any book or call a book a ‘brilliant contribution’ or a ‘modern breakthrough’. Their reputations would be at stake if they did.

Available here