John Banks made an election promise two years ago that Auckland ratepayers would not have to stump up for the Rugby World Cup.
John Banks has just announced this morning the imposition of a $23-per-head charge on ratepayers specifically for the Rugby World Cup.
So much for election promises.
But it's important, says Banks (who I still like to call the Minister for Rhyming Slang). It's "for the collective good," he says.
What’s that? The collective good, you say? But the idea of a "collective good" is a non-existent concept. It's an anti-concept: one that wipes out a real concept, i.e., individual good.
You see, 'good' requires a valuer: good has meaning only as a value to someone: it pertains only to an individual valuer. I can only have meaning in that context: what’s valuable to an individual, by their own independent judgement.
So what "collective good" really means then is that someone -- a community "leader," a politician, a busybody – has decided that “the community” is going to play for their choices. For their values. And if you don’t stump up, they’ll be getting out the big stick.
It’s not about “the good.” It’s about politics. If individual ratepayers valued the Rugby World Cup enough, they would stump up voluntarily to make up whatever shortfall is identified. The fact that Banks is having to use force betrays the fact that they don’t.
It’s not even about economics.
Banks says that the $23-per-head charge on ratepayers is an “investment.” An investment.
Let’s think about that for a moment. Investment is a subset of productive expenditure. An investment can be defined as “productive expenditure for goods and services which make productive sales.”
How does’ Banks’s pseudo-investment fit that bill?
In the unlikely event that the money was to be recouped, then that might conceivably be an investment. But even then it wouldn’t be ratepayers who recouped the “investment,” but Auckland businesses – and since Auckland businessmen seeking to make a profit on such an “investment” are manifestly not queuing up either to stump up voluntarily, then we can easily see their own evaluation of the prospects of such a profit; they have demonstrably already dismissed the idea that such an outlay would be recouped.
Which means that what the Minister for Rhyming Slang is applying here is a uniquely political concept of investment: which is “unproductive expenditure for economic white elephants which only make sense to a politician. “
In other words, you’ll be helping to pay for John Banks’s re-election campaign – which he undoubtedly intends to run off the back of a Rugby World Cup vibe.
Which means this is just another example of how bad thinking (in this case, the non-existent concept of "collective good") leads to bad politics: you paying for something you don’t want.
It’s not common sense at all: it’s politics – as RWC 2011 has been since Auckland won it.