Recognising excellence by Susan Grimsdell

There was an interesting story in the paper recently about one of the world’s greatest violinists and conductors, Joshua Bell.  He has played in the great concert halls of the world including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Centre, from the time he was a teenager.  You will pay a lot of money to attend one of his performances. Subway blues Several years ago, Joshua took his 300-year-old Stradivarius violin for which he had paid $3.5 million, and found a good spot near a subway station in Washington DC.  For the next 45… Read More

Teamwork to defeat poverty by Susan Grimsdell

Every aspect of life and development of 6000 New Zealand children has been studied year on year since they were born.  They’re now 8 years old. The research entitled Growing Up in New Zealand, recently released its Now We Are Eight: Life in Middle Childhood report. The have-nots The results show that 25% of them have experienced poverty throughout their young lives. These children score higher on depression, they are behind in physical well-being and they are falling behind in many other respects as well.  More than one third of all children… Read More

Let’s have a real Labour government by Susan Grimsdell

Faults of the free market Although most so-called conspiracies are fake, some are actually true.  One of these concerns a group of wealthy and influential people (as it was 1947, I’m probably safe to say “men”) who met after the war and formed the Mont Pelerin Society.  They conspired to promote the idea that the free market should dominate all aspects of society with individual  liberty being the main and only guiding principle.  They wanted to transform every aspect of life into an unrestrained marketplace where everything had a price, private enterprise… Read More

Poverty, inequality and tax by Susan Grimsdell

I’m always puzzled that politicians, the ones who either run the country already or want to run it, fail to see that introducing policies that make things a bit more equal will make things better for everyone. Who benefits from tax cuts? For example, the National Party is campaigning on a promise of tax cuts, but their plan will benefit people who are already doing quite well, and benefit the poor hardly at all.  Those on $90,000 a year will get an extra $58/week, those on $15,000 will get $1.35. Our Labour… Read More

The oil industry fights back by Susan Grimsdell

The oil industry’s in trouble.  Consumption of fossil fuels is dropping because of travel bans all over the world and because of public recognition that climate change is a reality.  The writing’s on the wall for oil-based fuels. The counter attack The industry isn’t defeated however.  They’ve seen a brilliant solution to their plunging revenue – plastic.  They are building 350 new plastics plants in Appalachia, a very poor area that has lost its main industry – coal.  These plants turn fracked natural gas into plastic bottles, bags, straws, cups, all the… Read More