Gareth Morgan – his tax ideas

Gareth Morgan is a reasonably intelligent man. He appears to have some kind of moral compass too. Which places him as a harder-nosed Oram, at first glance. That, though is a wrong and long bow.

Oram would happily give you the shirt off his back – Morgan (I suspect) is a little more hard-nosed about it. Both think we have an obligation to feed and assist the 6-going-on-9 billion folk on the planet.

Both are admirable in their instincts, but seem to be in denial of the actualities. Morgan writes and thinks his way through ‘Poles Apart’ (his collaborative climate change investigation) in absolutely outstanding fashion, and gets to where we did years ago – that you have to take the precautionary approach/there is no Plan B lead time/ get on with it.

But he drops two clangers en route. At the beginning, he rubbishes “perhaps to most pathetic example of imminent death by consensus was the panic following the 1972 publication of ‘the Limits to Growth’ , where a group cosily named ‘the Club of Rome’- scientists, economists, businessmen, international civil servants, heads of state and former heads of state from five continents’ – told us that the world was running out of energy resources, portending certain catastrophe withing decades”.

I won’t quote on – but he gets oil reserves mixed up with discoveries – suggesting he needs to get up to speed. The Club of Rome, of course, are yet – forty years on, to be disproved in any way whatever. Their graphs all showed problems starting about now, and getting bloody awful by 2050. I still show that graph in my powerpoints.

The thirty-year update is very little different too – as Albert Bartlett and M King Hubbert could have told you Gareth. Hubbert worked a best and worst UR for oil in the USA, and it made diddly-squat difference to the timing.

So Morgan is a Business-as-Usual type, despite his intellect. He is further,   an investment-advisor’, and a fund manager, apparently. Which means he wishes his sphere to have more of the action. He may be right that we should be weaned from building McMansions, but I suspect he just has an alternative.

The ‘land-tax’ idea is one such, a way to divest those of us who aren’t ‘productive’ enough with it, into the hands of? Folk who presumably think they can do what they regard as ‘better’.

I challenge you, Gareth Morgan. The same challenge David Cunliffe avoided, and English/Key/et al.

Prove that economic growth doesn’t require the extraction of finite resources.

(Because if you can’t, you path is unsustainable – I state that you can’ t, and it is).

Then, prove that it can be had without regression of the physical/chemical environment.

(same comment)

Then tell me what you think the next generation are going to thing of your approach.

I say they’ll see it as selfish, shortsighted and cynical. Or at least dumb.

I wonder when I see folk in his position being philanthropic – I wonder if it’s just a conscience-salve. Does he really think it’s worth assisting folk in Africa, while he facilitates Business-as-Usual back home?

It’s going to be interesting to watch these folk in the next five years or so (what I think we’ve got left).



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