There’s a tradition in New Zealand for our trading banks to employ economists who for whatever reason, periodically talk vacuous tosh.
I’ve written about this before, citing examples going back 30 years, such as the Westpac economist in the early 1990s, wringing his hands with angst at a sharp lift in the wool price. This, he fretted, would be inflationary. Far better apparently, if the farmers remained poor.
But the all-time gold medal for writing rubbish must go to the current BNZ economist, a Paul Conway. Paul has just produced what he describes as a Nine Point Plan for a more healthy economy and mindlessly the NZ Herald printed it.
It has to be the most ridiculous guff ever put in print; well almost, as nothing will surpass the Herald’s “tragic life and death of Sonny Fai” creation, which must be due for another appearance as it’s at least a fortnight since it last had a run.
Consider three of Paul’s offerings.
“FIX THE HOUSING MARKET”
“Our housing market has been a source of increased inequality and reduced well-being for many years,” Paul wrote.
His solution: “Lifting productivity in the construction sector and improved governance and management practices within companies.”
That’s meaningless waffle.
Construction workers are by and large fairly industrious although take away their cell-phones and they’ll do even better.
My company spends tens of millions of dollars annually on construction, mainly correcting architects’ design errors, but also in office fitouts and what have you, so I know what I’m talking about.
Paul’s increased inequality concern will not be solved by carpenters working faster. The housing inequality he alludes to is an income issue and nothing more.
Paul offers this pearl of wisdom. “The tax system could be doing more to improve our economic performance.”
Right! Well that brilliant insight should put him in line for the Nobel.
Paul’s answer. “Given the small size of most firms it (what? He doesn’t say) has an important role in solving common problems and issues.”
That vacuous guff is utterly meaningless.
The other six suggestions are even worse but I won’t torture readers any more.
The Herald should be ashamed for publishing this extraordinary rubbish.
If it reflects Paul’s value to society then I’d venture the average carpenter whom he maligns, contributes more in 10 minutes work than the BNZ economist has managed in a life-time.