Add a Comment (Go Up to OJB's Blog Page)
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!
Comment 1 (3079) by SBFL on 2012-05-18 at 11:07:34: (view recent only)
OJB loves to claim he is a leftie helping the poor, except when they are Chinese...
Comment 2 (3080) by SBFL on 2012-05-18 at 11:09:29:
What's the bet he opposes the Shanghai Pengxin purchase of the Crafar farms as well...?
Comment 3 (3085) by OJB on 2012-05-18 at 13:17:36:
If you read this blog you will see I disagree with overseas exploitation in general. I don't think I have ever criticised it regarding the Chinese before but I have definitely criticised US and Australian investment. So please don't try to use the "racist" tag here!
And yes, I do disagree with the Shanghai Pengxin exploitation of our land.
Comment 4 (3090) by SBFL on 2012-05-19 at 08:56:14:
Oh the irony. Environmentalists will tell you we all live on one planet but as soon as one person from a different part of the world wants to buy some land in NZ, it's all of a sudden "exploitation".
Comment 5 (3095) by OJB on 2012-05-19 at 13:45:30:
Why would anyone want to invest in another country unless they wanted to exploit conditions there for their own benefit? Sure there might be a small minority who genuinely think they can help the population in the country they are investing in but the vast majority just do it for greed. Why should we let them do that?
Comment 6 (3099) by SBFL on 2012-05-22 at 13:14:19:
By that rationale a farmer from NZ wanting to buy the Crafar farms is also "exploiting". Hell, if I put my house up for sale, and someone* showed interest in buying it, then they would also be "exploiting". Damn.
* not specified if this person was from the South Island, North Island, Australia, China or elsewhere.
Comment 7 (3104) by OJB on 2012-05-22 at 18:47:15:
I think the motivation of an individual farmer buying a farm and the motivation of a large foreign corporation buying it are quite different, wouldn't you say? And yes, if some foreign corporation wanted to buy your house so they could (for example) rent it our and profit from other people renting it then I would reject them too.
Comment 8 (3110) by SBFL on 2012-06-08 at 12:46:59:
And if I wanted to buy a property overseas to rent for income...would this be exploitation? Maybe more than one, also exploitation? Oh, maybe I am a limited liability company..also exploitation?
OJB..you need to learn the term "global". It's one lump of land at the end of the day.
Comment 9 (3128) by OJB on 2012-06-08 at 14:30:22:
Yes, yes, yes... and yes. I'm very uncomfortable about people buying houses (even locally) so they can exploit people less well off by charging them for what should be a basic human right (decent living conditions).
I know that is a rather extreme view so let's just move back to the overseas investment thing. Why would you buy such a house overseas instead of locally? It would be more difficult to organise property overseas, right? What would be the only reason? So you could make more money? There's my problem: capitalism has no morality.
Comment 10 (3133) by SBFL on 2012-06-08 at 15:12:24:
Of course I was being somewhat sarcastic so you must be too...thanks to the free market system rents are set at a rate that meets demand. Thus exploitation is not really possible.
Re overseas property: Yes you are right, one would want to make a dime. But by investing internationally one creates an adobe for someone who could not otherwise be able to afford the property. This is important to the family. Consider it an adobe that EXISTS.
Comment 11 (3137) by OJB on 2012-06-08 at 15:40:41:
Rates are set at a level which is often counterproductive and unfair. The market cannot be trusted to do anything and certainly not anything which is important like setting the price of housing. Surely enough people have commented on the hugely inflated price of housing in NZ (especially Auckland) to show this is the case. It's simple really: the market just doesn't work.
What is this "adobe" you speak of? You are investing in mud houses? :)
Comment 12 (3145) by SBFL on 2012-06-14 at 10:58:41:
Blooming heck. I made a comment, but it seems not to be saved. In short the market seems best as one cannot charge too much because someone else will come in at less ... love how this works....supply meets demand and has a big kiss.
Market economics may not be the best system in all scenarios, but I dare you to find one better. How's Venezuela coming along?
Comment 13 (3152) by OJB on 2012-06-14 at 23:44:39:
Markets need to be tightly controlled to achieve the best outcome for everyone and to achieve long term goals which would otherwise be ignored. It's the naive faith that uncontrolled "free" markets will solve all of our problems that I object to.
Comment 14 (3177) by SBFL on 2012-06-30 at 07:56:30:
Ooooh, "tightly controlled", by whom? Will these people ensure "the best outcome for everyone"? Oh yes, who thinks a Labour/Green government will think about "the best outcome for everyone". Yeah, we saw how they did that with their shutdown of freedom of speech in the EFA. No credibilty, no trust. See ya later.
Comment 15 (3183) by OJB on 2012-06-30 at 14:39:54:
Well that is the problem, isn't it? How should markets be controlled and by whom. Obviously the government would be the best source of those controls - at least they can be voted in and out depending on their performance.
What has the EFA got to do with controlling markets? Can't you stick to the topic?
Comment 16 (3184) by SBFL on 2012-07-03 at 09:26:15:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can leave comments about this entry using this form.
To add a comment: enter a name and email (both optional), type the number shown above, enter a comment, then click Add.
Note that you can leave the name blank if you want to remain anonymous.
Enter your email address to receive notifications of replies and updates to this entry.
The comment should appear immediately because the authorisation system is currently inactive.