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Chinese Poppies

Entry 1381, on 2012-04-24 at 20:36:07 (Rating 4, News)

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day. You've probably never heard of it if you live outside of Australia and New Zealand but it is a national holiday where New Zealanders and Australians are encouraged to think of the people who have served in the armed forces in the past (ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps).

The organisation for returned service personnel is known as the RSA (Returned and Services' Association) and it has an appeal leading up to the 25th where it gives out (paper) poppies for a donation. The poppies represent the poppies which grew in the battle fields of Flanders in Belgium during World War I.

Whatever your opinion of war most people would agree that the majority of people who served in the armed forces were in many ways innocent victims of greater political forces, so they tend to help out by "buying" a poppy from the collectors for the RSA.

In the past the poppies have been made by disabled people here in New Zealand as a way to give them employment, but this year the RSA decided to source most of them cheaply from China instead. That's why they won't be getting a donation from me, or many other people, this year.

I'm not against buying from China (or anywhere else) in every case. If I was I would own almost nothing because just almost every piece of technology I own (including all my beloved Apple devices) are made there. I would prefer it if China wasn't a virtual slave labour source which allowed big multinationals (including Apple) to get rich but that's the current reality.

But where there is a clear alternative I would prefer to support it. Sure the Chinese poppies were cheaper, but is cheaper always better? Cheaper often has unexpected consequences. I would be happy to donate 10 dollars for a New Zealand made poppy but I won't give them anything for a Chinese one. Which is really cheaper?

A lot of the problem comes from the example set by corporate leaders. Recently a particularly obnoxious one called Jim Quinn who is the CEO of our national railway KiwiRail (a state owned company) first refused to use a division of his own company to do work it could easily have done, and now wants to sell that same division (the railway workshops in my home town of Dunedin) because they have no work.

Is it any wonder that when horrible people like that set an example that others are tempted to follow? They think it's OK to abandon morality and ignore the big picture to save a few dollars. Well it isn't. We pay CEOs lots of money to make the best decision, not the cheapest. Any idiot can just look at a report and choose the smallest number. It's just not good enough and the CEO of both KiwiRail and the RSA should resign (and preferably leave the country so we don't have to put up with them just moving on to the next organisation they want to demoralise).

Business leaders really do get it easy. They can justify their vile decisions by saying they are just following best management practice, they often hide the details of their dirty deals behind the lie of "commercial sensitivity", and they spend a fortune on publicity campaigns, hideous spin-doctors, and professional lobbyists so that they can continue with the loathsome farce which is modern business.

Naturally the current government, being ideologically motivated to encourage this sort of thing, doesn't help and things will no doubt get worse before they get better.

So the matter of the source of some simple paper poppies has turned into another political rant. No surprises there!

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Comment 16 (3184) by SBFL on 2012-07-03 at 09:26:15: (view earlier comments)

Often it's about credibility. The EFA was a "tightly controlled" piece of legislation that defied all credibility as it was skewed to one side as our left-leaning media was at pains to point out. So one can only wonder what your leftish "tightly controlled" of the markets can really mean. Marxism?

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Comment 17 (3193) by OJB on 2012-07-03 at 15:03:21:

Yeah well I think your view on the EFA is a bit over-done and irrelevant anyway. When was the last time we had any major legislation which wasn't skewed, tightly controlled, and of doubtful credibility? Certainly can't think of any in the last 4 years!

This silly name calling with words like "Marxism" (and socialism in the US, as if that was the greatest crime on Earth) is just a lazy way to divert attention from what are quite reasonable ideas. We should have control over the economy because "free" (whatever that is) economies clearly don't work. It's as simple as that.

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Comment 18 (3205) by SBFL on 2012-07-06 at 10:55:47:

No, only the EFA failed in recent years, And it failed miserably.

Tell me about all the great ideas that came from Marxism. Please. We can't wait.

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Comment 19 (3211) by OJB on 2012-07-06 at 11:46:59:

To be perfectly honest I'm not familiar enough with Marxism to give a good answer. I do know that Marx was voted greatest philosopher in a recent BBC poll however (I disagree). I also know that in the many philosophy podcasts I listen to Marx' ideas are highly influential.

But I don't think you even read what I wrote. I specifically said I *don't* think labelling ideas as Marxist, socialist, etc is a good idea. We should look at the idea, not the supposed origin of it. Labelling everything that Obama does as socialism for example, has been a way his opponents in the US have avoided having to debate the real issues.

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Comment 20 (3222) by SBFL on 2012-07-10 at 09:58:13:

Well at least we agree Labour's Electoral Finance Act was the major flop of the last 4 years when it comes to legislation and no doubt because Labour voted for its repeal after Helen left the scene.

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