Can you fix the economy? Public needs better understanding

Last updated 09:30 11/12/2012
Polling booth
Kirk Hargreaves
VOTING: Kiwis need a better understanding of economics so they can cast a more knowledgeable vote.

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The economy is always at the top of the agenda for any political debate or discussion, especially since the world was hit by the Global Financial Crisis. Each political party claims to have the solution to all our problems and insists that the other party has no idea what they are talking about.

We see this tit for tat type of behavior now with the Labour Party blaming the National Party for the economic issues of the country. They proclaim our only hope for a prosperous economy is a Labour-led government, increased taxes, capital gains tax, and a massive amount of cnew, heap housing. In reality, it is only a matter of time until all these polices are put in place, because national will eventually be tossed out of office and Labour voted in to power. After a few years Labour's policies will not have worked either and National will be voted back in. The cycle will continue election after election with nothing really getting better.

Partly to blame for all the to-ing and fro-ing between parties is the voter. The average New Zealand voter knows little about macro-economics and the true effect of government policies on the economy. They obtain the little knowledge that they do have from the 6o'clock news and what each political party claims. These sources are not reliable.

New Zealanders need to understand that economics is highly political and that every economist they hear on the news is speaking from their own political convictions, and is not always correct. For example, an economist who claims that greater government spending, higher taxes, and more government handouts are needed is speaking from a Keynesian perspective, which is a socialist perspective. An economist who talks about individual liberty, the free market, and low taxes, is usually of the Austrian perspective, which is a libertarian/free market perspective. Almost all western governments regardless of being left of right wing have been introducing Keynesian policies for at least the last 30 years, and look where we are today.

New Zealanders need to increase their knowledge of economics so that when they vote they understand what they are voting for and what they are voting against.

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