Sunday, March 23, 2008

ZenTiger Freedom to shop

Over at Kiwiblog, David fights gamely to assure all freedom can be defined by how many days a year a society can shop.

He assumes of course that asking people on low incomes to work at time and a half is really an honour that would not be refused. This is all before we consider the Helen Clark factor.

Dear Helen turned lower and middle class New Zealand into welfare beneficiaries. Working for Families (WFF) does actually encourage workers to stay at home with their family on a public holiday. Helen deserves full credit for the first accidentally family friendly policy that Labour has introduced. You see, the moment a worker gets paid overtime rates, their income go up, which raises their tax rate and reduces their WFF tax credit. Ultimately it means their net return for working on a public holiday produces little extra.

Indeed, the extra money may not even cover the cost of Labour's other Family Friendly policy: "Free" childcare. Remember the free childcare policy that allows families to outsource childcare to work more? Well it wasn't free. In fairness, "free" is a complex term only properly understood by Labour's Finance Minister. It is probably as complex as the logic required to assure us that lower paid staff are actually "free" to choose to work or not work on Public Holidays.

I wonder, if it turned out retail workers turn down the perks of working so others may shop, if business owners be the first to step in and make up the labour shortage? Fancy being served by a CEO? I think it's a great idea, and might prove profitable. Let's legislate that shops can open providing you are served by CEOs, the board of directors, top line managers and any stars who have endorsed the product.

But maybe we should resolve this problem with the same maturity as displayed by the environmentalists? Let's set up an international public holiday trading scheme.

Some countries probably are using too many holidays anyway. We might be one of them. I'm sure Labour Day ain't what it used to be. We could sell that on the open market. Even better, let's trade it for Melbourne Cup Day.

Melbourne Cup Day would be of great benefit to the New Zealand economy. In Australia, Melbourne Cup Day works exactly like a public holiday but without the need to pay penalty rates. Businesses either close down because their staff piss off to the races, or they wish they had closed down, because staff don't do any work that day anyway.

They show up to work with a TV set tuned to Flemington Racecourse and spend the day deciding which horse name sounds the fastest before finally choosing anything Bart Cummings has punted. Either way, no work is done but - no penalty rates!

A New Zealand Melbourne Cup day would likely bring in a few billion dollars in foreign exchange - possibly enough to pay our Kyoto carbon tax offset (another trading scheme that didn't quite live up to the brochure).

China might be in the market for a Labour Day. They instituted an 8 hour day on a 5 day week. Very progressive. The 8 hour day has brought remarkable benefits to the Chinese workforce. It's calculated that only 7,000 peasants a year now die in a Chinese mine. During standard hours. Another 3,000 die too, but they die in overtime, and on a much better pay scale.

Hey - don't knock 60 cents an hour. Rice is quite cheap there. That's why its now sold back to us as bio-fuel. Maybe we can trade it for our coal? That might save another 1,000 Chinese mine workers from dying in a coal mine accident. Instead, they'll starve to death after being made redundant. Actually, they'll probably keep working so that they can sell their coal to Indonesia who will sell oil to Australia so they can sell uranium to China so we can buy plastic watering cans - because with water restrictions, we can't use sprinklers.

Helen is well aware of the benefits of trading with China. I'm suggesting we trade holidays, but it seems the Labour Government have already set up a "morals and ethics" trading offset too.

Helen has shown good United Nations potential here, ensuring we get kickbacks for the right reasons. Did you notice how we were too moral to deal with Fiji? We were also quick not to condone playing cricket with Mugabe. The Canadians couldn't land a deal, and Helen and Cullen stuck to their guns even if it meant our pension funds got hit with a departure tax. The New Zealand public must be feeling rather glad that we saved our morals for such an important deal as a Free Trade Agreement with China.

But what do we have that China may want? Apart from coal, there's New Zealand's butter and milk - things we produce in abundance because no-one in New Zealand can afford them. Can we trade Cheese for Tibetan Monks? Probably not, China has already explained they need to be recycled. I think Falun Gong units have been declared faulty and are being recalled too. They wont be completely wasted though, because organ donor statistics in China clearly illustrate they are far more generous than NZ in this area. However, if the number of reincarnations increase with babies missing kidneys, hearts and bone marrow, we know what went wrong.

Overall, it's a great deal. Given that Helen doesn't believe we have a soul, it's something easily traded. But I wouldn't say we need to feel bad about this. The danger of standing up for human rights and doing what is right is that occasionally, we as a nation will be found wanting.

And one thing worse in today's society than some-one trying to do good and occasionally failing, is some-one who is painted as a hypocrite. There is no fouler crime to the liberal who believes in the right to do anything, act anyway, and pretend no harm comes to those who watch from the sidelines.

This all started with freedom to shop. It will supposedly end when we have the freedom to shop 24/7 for cheap goods made on the backs of cheap labour. Indeed, the current theory is that spending money with China will help them to not only pay overtime to those dying in the mines, but a small pension to their surviving families.

I wonder if they will one day be able to afford our cheese? We can't. Thank God the shops are closed.

Related Link: [Kiwiblog] Easter Trading with China

Related Link: [Hitting Metal with a Hammer] Sophie's Choice


And it continues in 2009 with Freedom II Shop

20 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

I also see over at Kiwiblog, the suggestion to abolish all holidays and let people negotiate their own time off.

Personally, the absolute best thing I like about public holidays is that the world slows down just for a moment. There's something more calming and pleasurable about a day with the family when you know the work is not necessarily piling up in your absence.

At worst, if I need to work, then at least I'm catching up!

mojo said...

Zen, it all simply fills one with despair - expedient beliefs, expedient principles,hypocrasy ... mind you, 'full credit' isn't attributable to Helen, Sean Fitzpatrick made this his own.

Heine said...

I may share your sentiments a little about enjoying the slow down in our lives, but forcing those who do not subscribe to christianity to do as we do isn't fair.

Where I live now I'm surrounded by Hindus, Muslims and allsorts and they are all still working away and earning a living.

danyl said...

Personally, the absolute best thing I like about public holidays is that the world slows down just for a moment

I quite like that too, but I think the difference between you and I is that you generally expect your personal likes and dislikes to be enshrined in law so the rest of the country can be forced to observe them.

Andrei said...

I quite like that too, but I think the difference between you and I is that you generally expect your personal likes and dislikes to be enshrined in law so the rest of the country can be forced to observe them.

There are plenty of things "enshrined in law" that I don't like and are forced to observe.

We all know the real issue here is removal all traces of our Christian heritage from our culture.

The Feast of the Nativity of our Lord has become Christmas and for the most part been hijacked into commercialism and hedonism.

There was even an attempt to rename it "winterval" a few years back.

And in the USA they have recognized a bogus holiday called "Kwanzaa" which begins on the 26th of December.

Easter has proved far more tricky to airbrush away, chocolate eggs and easter bunny aside.

ZenTiger said...

Danyl - why do you think this? Show me the posts where I advocate for State Compulsion of my opinions.

I argue hard for my opinions, but don't assume my solution is a bigger government or laws of compulsion.

ZenTiger said...

I may share your sentiments a little about enjoying the slow down in our lives, but forcing those who do not subscribe to christianity to do as we do isn't fair.

Firstly, have I said I want to *force* others to subscribe to public holidays?

All I've done is discuss that some people want to force their opinion to change the law - to ban public holidays for a large section of the public. In the name of "freedom", they will effectively force low paid retail staff to work so they may shop.

As a society, we all collectively agree to live by the laws our elected representatives make. Our "freedom" to work in risky situations has been modified by safety regulations.

Apparently, in China, miners freely accept their risky and unsafe jobs and over 10,000 workers die each year in mining accidents due to poor safety standards of the mining companies.

Do you *really* think they freely chose those conditions? It's not such a hard stretch to see here that the so called freedom to shop is going to be at the expense of low paid staff that will be pressured to work on those days.

So, some people here are going to have to look in the mirror before accusing me of the same.

The underlying reason for Easter may be most appreciated by Christians, but the concept of a public holiday is still a good one for a Nation to enjoy a little bit of "time off" as much as able. If we reach a consensus.

I suspect a number of people actually resent that the holiday has historical and religious significance, and it's their own pettiness that seeks to undermine this holiday. (I'm not accusing any of the above commenters on this point).

Preserving a few public holidays is not an issue of compulsion, but one of demonstrating tolerance and respect for our traditions and heritage. It's not really a big ask in the scheme of things.

To make shop assistants sell you an American TV series DVD or a pair of socks on a holiday so that the so called "liberals" can tear down Easter *is* an issue of compulsion.

Sean said...

ZenTiger said:

"Personally, the absolute best thing I like about public holidays is that the world slows down just for a moment. There's something more calming and pleasurable about a day with the family when you know the work is not necessarily piling up in your absence."

This is soooo true, moreso today than ever before. Knowing that the Inbox is not piling up is such a relief that one can genuinely relax - from work (not from Easter for those Christians out there!).

With Blackberries and web gateways these days its tempting to keep in touch with work whilst on annual leave, if only because of the dread of 300 new emails when you return! Reminds of a series of Dilbert comic strips where Dilbert becomes compelled to check his email 24 hours a day after given the nifty new device. Shame dilbert.com doesn't keep the archive for very long.

Sean said...

"And in the USA they have recognized a bogus holiday called "Kwanzaa" which begins on the 26th of December."

Never heard of it. I much prefer Festivus (for the rest of us) which is an alternative holiday created in response to the commercialization of Christmas...

Andrei said...

Never heard of Kwanzaa, Sean?

Your "Festivus" mentions it as a reason the deviser of "Festivus" invented it in the first place, alongside Christmas and Hanuka.

Psycho Milt said...

In the name of "freedom", they will effectively force low paid retail staff to work so they may shop.

You're wasting your time pointing this out, Zen. To the Libertarian (with capital L), the ability to enjoy economic power over others is the very essence of liberty.

Anonymous said...

Busy, busy, busy, ooh I'm so busy, too busy to take a day off.
What horsesh*t.

If New Zealanders were as busy and productive as they pretend to be, including all the big talking big "L" libertarians, then we wouldn't be so desperate to eek out yet another $.

What causes the enforced-holiday whining is that the complainers aren't:
A. making as much money as they pretend to be or
B. aren't flexible enough to schedule/price in consumption downtime or
C. have the empathy of a clam.

For people with such compulsively urgent shopping needs how do they ever get any blogging done when shops are open?

Sean said...

Andrei, it was a bit of a joke.

Heine said...

"Preserving a few public holidays is not an issue of compulsion, but one of demonstrating tolerance and respect for our traditions and heritage"

Sounds awfully 19th century don't you think. In this day in age I am pleased I can go down to the shops 24/7 365 and buy almost anything I want. Not NZ mind you, us Kiwis are generally percieved as a little old fashioned. :>

"To make shop assistants sell you an American TV series DVD or a pair of socks on a holiday so that the so called "liberals" can tear down Easter *is* an issue of compulsion."

Unless these people of course choose to work on these days as they don't subscribe to the Easter traditions. Again, I am living in a neighbourhood where this is not observed and not a complaint from any of them. It isn't about tearing down Easter, it's about choice.

I know, awfully liberal of me. But I like the idea of choice. You observe your beliefs and I observe mine.

Anonymous said...

"may share your sentiments a little about enjoying the slow down in our lives, but forcing those who do not subscribe to christianity to do as we do isn't fair."

The old saying. "When in Rome do as the Romans do."

If the other groups don't like it. Well tough.

Same thing applies. If I go to a Muslim Country. I'll end up being the one strung up if I don't comply with their basic cultural practices!

NZ is is still more Christian orientated.

Heine said...

And anon, if I am in say the UK, how does that work? They practice almost every religion and we still get by fine during these holidays.

I don't be any means subscribe to the godless nature of our PM, but I am not convinced your arguments stack up.

ZenTiger said...

Heine, your position requires you believe no-one is pressured into working on a public holiday. Noble sentiments, but not quite my experience of reality.

Does anyone know of any nationwide surveys canvassing all those required to work on these days, and especially all those in retail that might be required to work if some had their way?

Many people already work on this day, and many have the choice of working at home, going into work to catch up etc. I'm left wondering why it is so important to break down having a few public holidays per year under the current arrangements. The reasons ultimately sound petty.

James said...

Religions are just various flys to be tolerated and ignored in a moral,secular,liberal society....let the kids do a they will but piss off out of the lives of the rest of us....it can work if the God heads could respect everyone eles wishes...sadly that seems unlikely.And notice the love in with the Leftys on this issue...force mongers together...

Anonymous said...

Heine, your position requires you believe no-one is pressured into working on a public holiday. Noble sentiments, but not quite my experience of reality."

Zen...thats just the same wanky lefty "no personal responsibility" bullshit our Socialist friends spout on a regular basis...ie: people are too dumb,oppressed,Maori etc etc to decide and choose for themselves what condictions they will settle for......

Lifes about choices....not perfection.If you are faced with limited choices in your own context well sorry but tough.....no one else is under an altruist obligation to relive you of the law of consequences.

greg said...

If stymied by "the law" you can shop online. Complete yourself!
Buy that 42 inch LCD or FatBob Harley online that you're prevented to purchase. That'll show'em!!

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