The following four snippets are from The Guardian Political Review,
Issue 52, Winter 2007 (New Zealand)

21   There's no stopping the richer getting even richer

The City of London can now boast to have 27 hedge fund traders in the top 100 list of the world's top earners.

Noam Gottesman and Pierre Lagrange were each estimated to have gained - you can't actually say earned - between $530 million and $700 million last year. This, of course, is chicken feed for 33 years old John Arnold who grossed at Houston based Centaurus Energy between $2,100 million and $2,800 million by gambling on natural gas prices.

Needless to say the money of foreign millionaires and City workers pushed the price of London's luxury homes to a new record in March. If you don't have $14 million to spend on a house or $7 million on a flat in London, try Auckland- it's cheaper.

The International Monetary Fund has now classified Britain as a tax haven. Many of the British born rich are non-domiciled for tax purposes and live part of the year abroad while wealthy foreigners from abroad live in the country, but are not domiciled for tax purposes and pay little or no tax. Those ordinary people who were born and live in Britain pay higher tax rates than the rich who are possibly rich because they pay little tax.

– from (part of) Whitmill’s World – Colin J Whitmill

Built-in unsustainability

So our government wants us to be the first sustainable State, and a very fashionable aim too, in view of the new climate of change. Unfortunately the Prime Minister seems blissfully unaware that an economy that aims for economic growth is by definition not sustainable, and the Finance Minister equally unaware that a money system run for profit by a private banking oligopoly has a built-in unsustainability.

The baseline for any such move towards stability has been almost totally eroded over the last twenty years. While the economy has been constantly talked up by the disciples of the new right, our trade deficit continues apace, our corporates flee to their larger market of Australia, and high interest rates, an overvalued exchange rate, balance of payments difficulties, are only countered by overseas borrowing and a largenumber of wealthy immigrants escaping the worst of the West. Not a good starting point for a clean, green future!

Or are they under the same false impression as the Greens, that the environment can be dealt with in isolation from the fiscal world? It is noticeable that those who are in thrall to global capitalism, and this includes both major political parties of course, are very happy to welcome these naive environmentalists into the House. A token nod to the ecological world, which the Establishment is happy to endorse. Not so in our case, which for over thirty years (1973 'You and your Environment'edited by George Bryant –Issue 51) has pointed out the need for a change of the socio-economic system in order to have a healthy environment. Needless to say, monetary reformers will never be welcome as long as that apparently democratic Assembly continues to be where the votes of the many are gathered for the nefarious purposes of the few.

Dick Ryan of Kerikeri is a former Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy officer, Director of the Commission for the Future, and former Democratic Deputy Leader and Spokesperson for Defence and Foreign Affairs. He is a past Director for the QE 11 National Trust and currently an advisory Trustee of The Prince's Trust N.Z.

News Bites


President Hugo Chavez has announced that he would formally pull Venezuela out of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, since the nation has already cancelled its debts to the lending institutions. "We will no longer have to go to Washington, neither to the IMF nor the World Bank, not to anyone", he said, "We will ask them to return what they owe us", referring to Venuezuela's recent repayment of debts to the World Bank five years ahead of schedule which saved the country $US8 million ($NZ10.93 million). A day earlier, Mr Chavez told a meeting of allied leaders that Latin America would be better off without the World Bank or the IMF, blaming their lending policies for perpetuating poverty.

Associated Press 2/5/07


The citizens of the ancient Devon town of Totnes in the U.K. plan to grow and protect their economy by issuing the town's own currency. Totnes used to issue its own money and one side of the Totnes Pound is a facsimile of an 1810 Totnes bank note, with a ledger on the back . 300 "Totnes Pounds" are in circulation. Local businessmen accept the notes as legal tender and every time they change hands the transaction is recorded. The idea is to see how the money circulates, with a view to running a full-on alternative currency. People can exchange national currency for local at a 10% mark-up. For 20 pounds sterling you receive 22 Totnes pounds, boosting spending power by 10% and doing the local economy a favour into the bargain.

Source: NZ Listener 26/5/07