It is amusing for those of us who live and grew up in a country most Americans would call “socialist” to see the absolute horror you have for socialism. In fact our system of government is more akin to social democracy, but we are not afraid for instance of a fully funded public Health Care for all. Indeed most NZers would want our government to invest more. There are some who want to have a private Health Insurance and can afford it - but the majority do not. As for accident insurance that again is provided for all, including visitors to our country and is funded through general taxation.
The burden of tax for NZers averages 34.4% whereas for the US the burden of tax is 27.7%. However, note that NZ’ers have no requirement for Medical or Accident Insurance because that is already paid for.
Say you had - an accident and broke a leg or shoulder or suffered 80% burns to your body (as some unfortunate souls did just a fortnight ago when White Island, Whakaari exploded while they were on it) the whole hospital expenses are free, and any subsequent rehabilitation is also fully funded.
It means of course that there is a slightly larger bureaucracy, and funding is via taxation - but in fact the overall savings made (since the need for profit is removed) - means that in the end individuals pay less for essential services such as health, education, etc. And the further benefit is that services can become more standardised with the result that quality control is easer to achieve.
In 1935 following the Depression years NZ elected its first Labour Government. It remained in power for 14 years, such was the mood of the country for the programmes that it implemented.
You can see a complete list here:
Notably the incoming National Government in 1950 promised the electorate that it would not repeal any of Labours Welfare State Policies. And indeed many of the 1935 reforms remained in place until the 1984 election when the economy was turned upside down by a rogue Finance Minister Roger Douglas (later Sir) who introduced the laissez-faire economic theories of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics. We all know now that the so called “trickle down” was in fact a Geyser, with the rich getting very much richer and the poor paying the price. After an initial burst of economic growth, the overall effect of these reforms has been a disaster. From a country which boasted a high level of social cohesion and economic equality, we have now descended to a country where there is high inequality, 23% of our children live below the poverty line after household costs are deducted from income, 1% of our people are homeless. Douglas will not go down in history as a revered politician, whereas Michael Savage, the first Labour leader is the most honoured of all Leaders.
I totally agree with you wrt the need for rules within which capital operates, and I like the Policies being promoted by Elizabeth Warren in this regard. Also I’m all for a more managed economy a la South Korea
I’m sure you will enjoy the book. A few years ago I lent a copy to Helen Kelly, at that time the President of our Council of Trade Unions.
She replied :
Thanks for lending me this book it was most interesting and easy to read.
I have purchased my own copy as there are some very useful references in it as well…
Her early death was a great loss to us here. The link above reviews a just released documentary of her final year.