Voluntary Student Unions

So, Sir Roger Douglas’ Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill has been pulled from the hat, and we can look forward to months of debate drawn along traditional left/right lines.

It goes like this. Most of the universities in New Zealand have compulsory SA (student association) membership. If you’re studying there, you’re a member. Several years ago, a large VSM movement at Auckland Uni switched things there from compulsory to voluntary membership, making AUSA the only voluntary SA in the country. Continue reading

New Capitalist Pyramid

A pretty good updated version of the famous old capitalist pyramid (below). The difference between the two shows the difference between the realities of capitalism (and socialism as a reaction to it) in the days of Marx and today. (Click here for a larger version of the new one.)

I believe the most important difference is the globalisation of the economy and the corollary outsourcing of poverty. While in the 19th century, one could, say, take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London

…and see the people suffering at the bottom of the capitalist heap, these days you can only really see them on TV, and even then you have to go out of your way to find out about it, and even then there’s such a long causal string between your actions and their suffering that you don’t feel responsible or potent to do anything about it. Part of that is the media, of course, which is why us Westerners are so happy to be wedged in between the soldiers and the police.

Missing from this new pyramid, I think, are the politicians, who should be standing just behind the police, as I don’t think they’re quite represented by the guy at the top (at least in New Zealand; the US is a different matter).

Here’s the old discrete-nations pyramid: