Archives for February 2023 | Josie Pagani



Russia's invasion of Ukraine after 1 year

Today is a year since President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. March will be 20 years since the beginning of war in Iraq.

Both wars were illegal. War crimes were committed in each. Many thousands of civilians were killed in both.

Any further comparison gets in the way of moral clarity. The two wars are different.

“Whatabouters’’ try to convince you that all wrongdoing is the same because differences in the facts don't help their cause. If everyone is a hypocrite, then you can excuse doing nothing because any action is compromised.

Imagine the world we would be living in today if we had listened to ‘’whatabouters’’ and done little to support Ukraine.

Its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and his family would be dead. Russian puppets would be in charge. They had already chosen their Kyiv apartments.

Ukraine would be a country of concentration camps, makeshift prisons and mass graves.

Poland, the Baltic states, and even Berlin would be preparing for war. A fatally wounded Nato would be helpful to no-one. Autocrats around the world would be emboldened. The era of democracy would be threatened.

We have the unthinkable sacrifices of the Ukrainian people to thank for the fact that this did not happen,

Don’t let “whataboutery’’ stall our support as the second year of this war begins. The only way the war ends is if Ukraine wins.

Read Josie's column here.

Stronger, not cheaper.

We’re not just falling behind in building our infrastructure. We are falling behind in the politics of sorting it out.

The world is changing around us, and we’re not keeping up.

Elsewhere, governments are putting more emphasis on making things work, less on making things at the lowest cost.

Globalisation is in retreat, bilateral and regional trade deals are on the rise. Economics and trade are no longer decoupled from domestic politics or values. There’s a turn to protecting your own manufacturing. That’s why Joe Biden argues that buying stuff closer to home reduces risk and creates local jobs. He knows that people expect growth to deliver jobs where they live, or what’s the point?

Free markets didn't lift all boats. Some sank. No-one in any town anywhere said: “Well, I lost my job, but at least aggregate incomes have gone up.”

The age of globalisation is over. We have spent the higher incomes that came with it on paying more for houses instead of on the power, pipes and services we needed.

A new era of protectionism is scary for us. But it’s a wake-up call to look at our own manufacturing.

China, Germany and Japan have shown that promoting manufacturing leads to more knowledge-based innovation, R&D, skills and training.

As we rebuild after this cyclone, we have to be better prepared for all the ‘storms’ heading our way. That means a muscular industrial plan to build better roads, power stations and communications networks.

Our future wealth needs to come from being stronger, instead of cheaper.

Josie's post Cyclone Gabrielle column is here.

Increase the minimum wage

If there's one thing this Government has got right from day one, and delivered without bungling anything, it has been the minimum wage.

The thing that gets me is the double standard. I looked up the accounts of a few businesses in low wage sectors. Quite rightly, I haven't found a single news release from business representatives denouncing increases in their profits or CEO pay, saying it will cause inflation and have to be passed on to customers (although I bet it was). Not a single person claimed that this would lead to increased unemployment for CEOs.

I mean no criticism of these businesses, or their profits. The point is that no-one leapt into the media to call for restraint when these figures were released. Why then are the very lowest paid, who have the least power to determine their incomes, subjected to a different standard from the businesses that employ them?

Josie's column on the increase in the minimum wage is here.

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