Rogernomics

The last column described the philosophy of economist James Buchanan as it applied to the United States. What is its relevance to New Zealand?

When I looked at James Buchanan’s theory of public choice, I was struck by how it reflected an American institutional setting; Our political system is different. Even so, our colonial mentality meant his economics and social philosophy was influential on ‘Rogernomics/Ruthanasia’ in the 1980s and 1990s generating patterns of thinking which persist to this day.

The times are a’changing, as recent macroeconomic fashions are being abandoned and old verities are being restated. 

Alan Blinder, an American economist, described as ‘one of the great economic minds of his generation,’ was an economic adviser to President Clinton and was a Vice Chair of the American Federal Reserve (central bank). He is known to many as the co-author of an extremely successful textbook.

Too much of pop-economics is misleading to the point close to being lying. No wonder there is a widespread rejection of it by the populace. 

Journalists and other populisers get away with an economics which does not quite lie, but is often very misleading. This applies to Brexit, but let’s start off with the TPPA (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement).

If National can adapt to change, why can't Labour? 

Once upon a time National was a party dominated by farmers and their rural base. Its first townie leader, Sid Holland, had to have a farm bought for him in the 1940s, to maintain his status in the party. It was such a country party that there was a view in the 1960s that as New Zealand urbanised National would lose voter share because Labour was so much stronger in the cities.

To close the gap with Australia, will Brash dare to follow the Australian example? Or will it be Rogernomics: the next chapter?

So Don Brash is our new Productivity Tsar, huh? Political ironies don't come much richer. It's almost as funny as this government going on about productivity being its number one priority while at the same time cutting contributions to the Super Fund and axing R&D tax incentives.