The Lessons of Privatisation New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton

Address prepared for plenary session Commonwealth Business Forum  Honoured colleagues and delegates, I'm reminded of the old story about a surgeon, an engineer and an economist discussing which profession has the longest history. The surgeon said medicine was the oldest, because when the Lord created Eve, he took a rib from Adam¡K the first example of surgery. The engineer pointed out that first came engineering when the heavens and the earth were created from the chaos. And the economist said, "yes, but who do you think created the chaos.' It is difficult to outline New Zealand's recent experience of private-public…

New Zealand gets its own ” People’s Bank “

Kiwibank, a new bank for people wanting to go back to a simpler way of banking in New Zealand, began a nationwide rollout on March 23. The country's only public bank, it is also the only New Zealand-owned bank since 1989 when the last of the four government-owned banks, the PostBank, was privatised. Few countries sold and deregulated public utilities and services faster than New Zealand under successive Conservative governments in the 1980s and 1990s. Now under a Labour-Alliance coalition government, the public sector is making a come back in banking, electricity, telecommunications and transport. Kiwibank is the brainchild of…

New Federal Watchdog is Taking Over Security at US Airports

The new security umbrella that is unfurling over US airports is under the direct control of the federal government which has taken back aviation security from private companies following revelations of rampant violations and mismanagement during investigations into the September 11 attacks. The nation's first fully federalised team of security screeners began taking over screening at airports on April 30. Officials promise they are better trained, better motivated and kinder – complaints of racial profiling and harassment have swelled in the tense security climate at airports -- than those employed by private contractors who under-paid and exploited their workers while…

California’s Energy Debacle Continues Andrea Cappannari

Despite the fact that California was spared the many days of rolling blackouts that experts predicted would hit the state during the summer of 2001, the region's energy supply has failed to stabilize. As the new year begins, the energy crisis in California has simply taken on a new form: a vast oversupply, the cost of which is being disproportionately borne by working people. According to a report issued in November by the state's Department of Water Resources (DWR), California will have a gross surplus of energy for the next nine years. The reason for this lies with the costly…

Labour Mobility and Unemployment in China Diana Hochraich

Diana Hochraich makes a case for China’s need to upgrade its manufacturing industry. Industrial enhancement by means of an efficient industrial policy, together with a strong effort in education should be the policy leading to a more balanced labour market. labour_mobility (Download the full text in PDF format) (Paper presented at the International Workshop on the Chinese Economy, Shanghai, December 14 and 15, 2001)

Hearings Reveal Enron at Center of California Energy Crisis Andrea Cappannari

In a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on April 11, California Public Utilities Commission President Loretta Lynch and California Power Authority Chairman S. David Freeman charged that Enron Corporation's manipulation of the energy market was at the root of California's energy crisis last year. According to authorities, by late 2000 Enron oversaw 30 percent of energy bought and sold in the state's deregulated market, giving it enormous leverage over supply and pricing. California is currently demanding Enron and other energy suppliers refund the state $8.9 billion because of unfair trading practices. Wenonah Hauter, from the watchdog…

As Zambia Courts Western Markets, Used Goods Arrive at a Heavy Price Jon Jeter

The flea market here is as dark and hazy as an opium den, its flimsy tin roof turning back the midday sun as Edward Mansa robotically unbundles the shipment of secondhand clothes that has just arrived. The dull, red DKNY T-shirt catches his eye. "This," he says admiringly as he holds the shirt up to the dim light, "is not bad." He says he can probably get a dollar for it. The shapeless plaid skirt is another matter, however, as is the dowdy, ruffled blouse and the banana-yellow sport coat that causes Mansa to shudder. He'll be lucky to get…

Power to the Powerful in South Africa, but the People also have Power Patrick Bond

It's a criminal gang,' announced Jeff Radebe, the African National Congress (ANC) minister of public enterprises, at a December (2001) press conference. He was blasting activists of the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee (SECC) for their 'Operation Khanyisa!'--reconnect the power! -- campaign. Over six months, more than 3,000 families had their electricity supplies illegally switched back on, after being left in darkness when they couldn't afford to pay their enormous monthly bills. SECC volunteers risk electrification to do the work, and charge their neighbors nothing for the service. Radebe, ironically, is a leading member of the SA Communist Party. In May…