Lately I’ve been brushing up on my politics and economics. No, I still haven’t gotten around to reading a whole book or journal articles on the topic, but I’ve been making my way through a fair share of opinion articles, wikipedia pages and online lectures. I think this recent spur of interest could be attributed to our recent elections, occupy wall street or more likely, Reddit. Either way, it’s been enjoyable and enlightening.
Interestingly during this time I’ve changed my mind on a lot of issues. While not too long ago I would have considered myself a so called “liberal”, taking any opportunity to make remarks that stick it to the man, I’ve realised how uneducated I was regarding how things actually work in the real world. That is to say, I haven’t changed what I value in society, but rather think differently on how we are to achieve them.
The terms capitalism and free market are, for me, no longer synonymous with “greed” and “exploitation”. I no longer believe that the best way to solve our problems is via socialist regulations. In fact, I’ve realised that government interference sometimes poses a greater threat to the well being of a nation than corporations do. But more importantly, I’ve realised that people on the right are not evil scum.
There is a knee jerk reaction from the blue collar or liberal section towards right wing policies. One that assumes a self interest, elitism or even heartlessness within the maker. As if there is always some grand New World Order scheme churning below their million dollar mansions. Or could it be that they are simply trying to achieve the same goal as us but via a method they perceive as more effective?
Maybe foreign investment in New Zealand land will actually benefit all of us. Maybe discarding the minimum wage will produce more jobs. The sustainable extraction of our natural resources may just be a perfectly safe way to increase our exports. Suppose privatization does sometimes lead to better public services. And maybe John Bank’s depiction of the average Polynesian male has a valid basis (only kidding).
I’m not saying I support any of these claims. I just think that we could all try to understand the other side properly before we jump on the angry protest wagon and release the ad hominem remarks. Who knows, maybe we could even read a book on economics…