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Compass and map

How the West was lost

Almost a decade ago, I published an opinion piece that called for the abolition of what was then the G8, the group of the seven largest industrial nations and Russia. After the dramatic conclusion of last weekend’s G7 summit in Canada, we may be a step closer towards this goal. Except I am not happy about it. Back in 2009, I was dismayed with the G8’s zealous ineffectiveness. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
15 June, 2018
Teddy bear

A poverty problem by any other name

As a researcher, I sometimes feel a bit awkward or apologetic talking about poverty, and particularly how to measure it. It is easy to get stuck in the abstract, talking about definitions and statistical accuracy, and forget that there are families struggling and children whose basic needs are not being met. Meanwhile, there are people working in social services who are making real changes to peoples’ lives regardless of how the government defines poverty. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
15 June, 2018
Queen Victoria

We are not amused

Have you noticed how often the disembodied “we” word is used to justify policy action in government today? A stray document that reached our inbox this week may explain why. It is an extract from the Ministry of Truth’s guidance on the correct use of words. Apparently, successful careers for aspiring public servants and politicians can result from the successful application of just two rules.RULE 1: Use the “We” word often, but always ambiguously Ambiguity is everything in government. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
15 June, 2018
Waste

Waste not, store that

Dilbert creator Scott Adams likened knowing a bit of economics to having a mild superpower.High among economists’ mild superpowers is the ability to use formal mathematics to define what words mean. Working through the implications often leads to implications that seem counterintuitive but are hard to overturn.It also makes it hard to read documents like Auckland Council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan.Let’s think about waste and then come back to Auckland’s plan – but we’ll leave the maths to one... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
15 June, 2018

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