I have tried to follow Mr Hoskins simple logic on why an UBI is not a good idea. One of his arguments is that UBI would be squandering the money on (rich) people who do not need it. However, at the same time he condones the fact that people in need shouldn’t get anything either. Logic of reverse conclusion obtrudes. This is a fine example of the ultimatum game where Hosking sees himself unfairly treated. Interestingly is he one of those who might not need an UBI.

If one mind is speaking about “not losing our minds” it may as well prove a very narrowed point of view of the same. Mike Hosking is eagerly bashing an outspoken pondering about an universal basic income (UBI) by finance minister Grant Robertson. 

Hosking is defending the status quo of an economic system that resulted in dramatically reduced healthcare in many places in the western world such as Italy. Before the financial crisis Italy’s spendings on health care was on the same level as Germany’s. Since then, the spending has declined by 32% as a result of European politics. These politics aimed at privatisation of the health system, pushing responsibility away from the government to the market. This resulted in less intensive care units, in fact from 10 beds per 1000 inhabitants to a mere 3. The Italian government went this way in order to pay back debt. This is a result if the state gives up control over essential services. A point that Mike Hoskins apparently supports when he states that “it’s about the control by the state, it’s about everyone being reliant on the government.”

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It does not matter how bad the situation is. For many people who rent there may be some tough times ahead. While banks allowing a “mortgage holiday” for home owners, the ongoing of rent payments stays within the power of the landlords.

As the cut in mortgage payments may seem to free landlords from the burden of paying back their debts it is indeed just a deferral. The interest and rates have yet to be paid in future.

One side to the story are the tenants who won’t get a break from paying their share and the other is that landlords will be required to pay up as usual. It’s just a matter of when. As the landlord may save interest in the time this rule is in place, the tenant overpays. And surely a bank won’t see much of a cut either. This is the the mere continuation of a threatened economic system that plays unfair. Politics are currently not willing to even out the burden across the board.

The bank always wins.

New Zealand Housing market crisis explained by a property investor.

There’s not much to say about the New Zealand housing market other than it’s unaffordable. New Zealand property is currently among the most unaffordable in the world. Period. Why? Well, that’s another story.

Here is the voice of the Property Investors Federation chief executive Andrew King. Confronted with one of the reasons why property get’s more and more expensive, which is speculation, he answered that he didn’t believe investors are pushing first-home buyers out of the market. His reasoning in the following. With comments.

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Seems like one has to say the painfully obvious: If there are no guns, there are no gun incidents. The basic principle to strive for a safe and civilised society are not trusted to the state. Instead gun owners seem to believe in Social-Darwinism. May the world be bad, may it be full of “manics”, the issue for the average American gun owner might be that a maniac is being quicker in pulling his gun. Game over.

Schools are death traps, according to Andrew Pollack, an unnerved father of one of the victims in the shooting in the Stoneman Douglas High School. That’s why he is demanding body scanners in front of schools.

“You can’t get into a court house with any type of weapon, you can’t get on to a plane, so why can it happen in a school, and why has it already happened, I think over 200 times in this country. I’m pissed off and I’m angry it keeps happening. It’s stopping…it’s going to stop now with my kid” [ source ]

I feel for him. But this is the approach of a vision-lacking, law abiding citizen with no own thoughts about anything outside his own vicinity. That is how the atmosphere of “1984” by Orwell, how Stalin, how Hitler and exploitation came to exist: by keeping your head within a sickening system. The answer to stop massacres executed with guns is so simple, yet, it is artificially stylised to a political matter that demands a discussion. We all know it is because of profit and a misunderstood freedom to carry arms. more

All of us get fear drummed into our heads every day. From the news, from the Porsches and the blanket-man at the curb, from colleagues… from the elevated paradigm of constant competition. This fear lets us shift gears in that rat race instead of slowing down and help those who have fallen. The latter group is constantly growing – so if you stop with dignity and help, it will be us, resting.

I get reminded sometimes – and I remember hearing it even from my grandparents who got through WWII – that things ‘could be worse’. So I humbly have to accept the situation I am in, which is way better than it ‘could be’? Well, humility is something everyone should own. Humility should not reach the sphere of resignation though. I am talking about the way of the middle. One living in a government-sponsored house might say that things are not as bad and one should be happy to have shelter, others shout out to the gods when they drop their iPhone – and cannot afford a new one.

What is the way of the middle? To live in a rental and own an Android phone? It’s not about that. Life is always suffering, to follow the words of Buddha. True that: Problems come in all forms and any intensity; yet we all struggle with them. Frankly, just fight the situation and do complain silently and start changing. Never use the term ‘it could be worse’ unless it’s a current loss. Think ‘it needs to change’ ( or ‘I’). However, think about whether some things are worth changing. In other words: Get priorities straight. more

A challenge forces the brain figuratively to leave the comfort zone and enter a terrain of uncertainty. As a result it creates a gap of information to support one’s view on an issue and leaves gaps in the brain’s structure of knowledge. This “uncertainty effect” has been scientifically evaluated in 2006 by the Boston MIT and led to disturbing conclusions: The brain replaces missing information with an inexplicable fright, an “irrational by-product of not knowing — that keeps us from focusing on the possibility of future rewards”. Frankly: People want to know what they are already inclined to believe.

There has been a paradigm shift in the way we inform ourselves. Eight of ten people in the developed world using the internet. That´s more than most elections have at the ballot. About every fourth internet user is predominantly visiting social networks to use them as an information source. And people still use search engines. While Microsoft’s Bing has an estimated user base of 200 Million searches in 24 hours, Google gets hit with about 3.5 billion search the same day. There are one billion websites available today, with another 5 new ones published each second.

What effect has that abundance of information available to us? With the rise of the internet information sits right at our fingertips — regardless of its quality. Search algorithms, the categorisation of data by program, are ultimately affecting what information we consume. For example, search engines use your location to present results close to you. Or do you think this little bakery around the corner is world-renowned? In the original documents of the Stanford University of California, two students described how to create a search engine that delivers results as “an objective measure of its citation importance that corresponds well with people’s subjective idea of importance”. Again: “people’s subjective idea of importance.” Pagerank. That is Google’s initial white-paper from 1997. The search-rank of a webpage is determined fundamentally by the back-links from other webpages; frankly by the attention a site is already getting on the internet. What seems like a catch-twenty-two for newborn website, is yet a fundamental algorithm (amongst others) that influence our perception of the world. more

Imagine when you have to work 30-odd years to afford a two-bedroom house (or just the rent), trying to keep your head above water, moving to places that your job demands and not your lifestyle. This is anything but Kiwi. A devastated social structure is what current economics leave behind and while the rest of the developed world is moving to the right because of this.

A couple of years ago, at the New Zealand writer’s festival in Christchurch, famous author Keri Hulme resigned from her remote home in Okarito. A very, very small place down south at the west coast used to be a tight-knit community of locals that shared the same values. These values are shattered now. That’s why Keri Hulme said, she will move to the East Coast, looking for another retreat. What happened in Okarito?

New Zealanders are living on a remote island which is prone to nature’s disasters. Life can be rough, especially down south-west. Communal life is a cornerstone of society where your neighbours are no strangers and, at best, friends. One needs each other as natural events are humbling reminders of human’s place in the world.

The small islands in the southern hemisphere seemed quite isolated from the world’s issues. However, it just seems this way. Over the recent years, whilst trying to keep up with the OECD standards and a neoliberal agenda of “the markets”, New Zealand has become an export country for clean natural products. At the same time, it became a safe haven for a certain kind of refugees: The rich ones. more