Moral Hazard – strictly speaking is an economic term of one party getting involved in a risky event knowing it is protected against the risk the other party will wear. It’s such a juicy gorgeous term and I’m going to massage its meaning, because I can and it best describes where I dwell.
It is totally different from this other place where many claim to dwell.
Moral high ground – All encompassing terms such as ‘environment’, ‘organic’, ‘third of NZ children live in poverty’, ‘holistic’... etc., all easily dispelled with a little rationality – but at one’s peril.
Susan’s meaning of moral hazard – Taking the moral high ground knowing anyone (ie. Me) who dares to argue, against whichever moral high ground, will be labelled *peel & stick*, climate change denier, racist, Tory, selfish, heartless, greedy... Label away. I’ll stick to my beliefs.
My favourite behavioural economists Thaler & Sunstein (Nudge 2009 p.62), extrapolate on Solomon Asch’s experiments testing herd conformity. They find the majority of people will conform with a group even when they know the group’s decision is wrong or they disagree. They describe it as remarkable that the group judgements became so internalised that people adhered to them when reporting alone, away from the group, even a year later and even as the original group members left and new people join, the original ethos remains. A tradition or practice can continue in a society, not because anyone like or agrees with it or thinks it defensible, but because of what most people think other people think.
I am currently politically unrepresented in the House. Because I don’t automatically oppose everything the National led Government I’m automatically lumped in as a National Party supporter. I did actually vote National in the last election (for the first time ever), but that was more from lack of a viable opposition and that the guts dropped out of the ACT Party (whom I voted in 2008) followed in 2011 by Labour (Hutt South electorate) and Maori Party (Whanau Ora, in my opinion, should be the social policy/welfare of the future).
Anyone with any political knowledge would immediately recognise I couldn’t be a conservative – but then, neither is John Key. I am policy driven and they have some reasonably sound policies. I also have huge respect for Helen Clark and her achievements, despite railing for years against much of what was imposed during the last Labour led Government (1999-2008). Sue Bradford’s sponsored Bill which led to the removal of s59 of the Crimes Act (anti-smacking) was another admirable policy/legislative triumph. She can also be reasonably good on power relations, but sadly is touched with Green ‘economic theory’ where it seems other people’s money grows like weed.
The Green party, and supporters, vehemently oppose corporate globalisation but the Green Party itself is the only worldwide franchised political party I can think of. Greens hold such great belief in the ‘style of life’ they also believe others should live it, just not themselves. One Green Party MP was on social media lamenting being held up due to the traffic on Auckland’s motorway. When I pointed out he really should be using the public transport so lauded as ‘the answer’, I was told he didn’t have time... I pointed out the hypocrisy... I was blocked from further comment... There’s the moral hazard. He is so elevated above the populace doing the good work the general public should be using public transport to free up the roads so he could get to his important meetings. Could they be any more Orwellian as, all be it, free range organic pigs?
I completely disagree with ‘feed the kids’, fruit and milk in school. Feeding kids is their parent’s job! We have one of the best welfare systems in the world. Milk in schools is a Fonterra long term marketing ploy paying double dividend... clever, but another story. Fruit is cheap. Fruit is cheaper than chippies. An apple is still cheaper than a packet of chippies. It’s not cheaper to feed your kids junk, although some bleeding heart will find some example somewhere. If kids are not being fed by their parents, the problem is not fixed by ‘feeding the kids’, the problem is fixed by fixing the family – back to Whanau Ora (if you don’t know what Whanau Ora is about, there’s a rant about it HERE). The problem with Whanau Ora is one of personal responsibility; it expects people to take personal responsibility, clearly a problem in NZ as evidenced by the shrinking Maori Party. Feed the kids type of ideologies not only continue to disempower people, it abdicates personal responsibility and backs up belief that there is ‘poverty’ in NZ (and yes I understand the theories of relative and absolute poverty). Billions of actual poor people in the world would love to be NZ’s ‘poor’. We are the 1% - all of us, we live in paradise!
Still if we tell people they’re poor often enough they’ll believe it. I’ve met people who consider themselves ‘poor’ when they own a home and a brand new car! The most vitriolic anti-government diatribes seem to come from those whose lifestyles are funded by the taxpayer via the government. A particularly foul recent NZ rap ‘artist’ was going to “break into the Prime Minister’s house and ‘have sex’ with his daughter” because “the government had done nothing for him”. Turns out the government had contributed by way of a grant to have his first album made and, during an interview with Kim Hill he stormed out of the studio after she questioned the validity of his “done nothing” claim.
As I scroll through social media, amongst the clearly intellectual ‘John Key is a wanker’ style memes and rants from calls to overthrow our democratically elected government, to abuse towards the ‘sheeples’ and ‘brain-washed’ who voted them in and multiple claims ‘NZ is not a democracy’, assumedly as no one listens to their particular crack-brained conspiracy theory. There’s even an on-line petition calling for the ‘removal’ of John Key from his role. There’s no mention of how he’d be removed. The politically educated among us know there’s only two ways to remove a leader, election or death. The latter being a road we never want NZ to go down – well I don’t.
Calls for ‘direct democracy’ are equally scary. Sweden (often held up to us a great bastion of rights – yeah right) has discovered binding referenda are the most efficient way to remove minority rights. Speaking of minorities, check out the ‘ethnic problem’ of the Nordic countries – fastest growing white-power groups in the world. How much democracy is too much? Scary.
That the ‘anti-government-of-the-day’, ‘Facebook meme spreaders’ etc., believe they have better knowledge and statesmanship than the collective knowledge of the Government of the day and public service executives, is amazing. Now I’m not saying they’re not entitled to freedom of speech or participating in the democracy they often seek to destroy – that is their right, but it is true what you write (or share) says more about the writer (or sharer) than what it says about the topic (including me here).
I absolutely believe in our democracy. Like Winston said, (that’s Churchill not Peters, although they’re both nuts), “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.”