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Should there be a House of Lords?
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Clearly, in such a populated country such as Great Britain, a Second Chamber of Parliament also known as the House of Lords is necessary. Although the House of Lords cannot execute much power, compared to the House of Commons, it is a vital part of British Government. The House of Lords plays an important part in revising, potentially delaying legislation and as well as keeping a check on Government by scrutinising its activities. It complements the work of the Commons, whose members are elected to represent their constituents. Members of the Lords are not elected and are unpaid. Most peers...
very well and it would not make sense to remove its presence from Government. The House of Lords works to revise legislation ensuring it is coherent. It also works by keeping a check on Government by scrutinising its activities. Many people do not realise that the House of Lords is influential in Government. For example, it can delay legislation for a maximum of one year. It is also made up of many committees that make sure that Government is working efficiently. Although there are some problems with the House of Lords including being undemocratic, overall it works very well.
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The New Zealand Government has made...The New Zealand Government has made significant changes to the economy throughout the last 15 years. The operation and organisation of business activity in New Zealand has been affected by this changing economy. All aspects of the New Zealand Government have been altered. The reason for this change was to improve the performance by being more efficient. The key reforms are privatisation and corporatisation of State Owned Enterprises SOEs and restructuring government agencies. The most significant change was the election of the Labour Party in 1984, which ended the Muldoon Administration. At this time, New Zealand was in a rut because of poor economic management by the previous Government. Unemployment was high in 1983 and still climbing, real GDP was only 1.15 between 1976 and 1984, and international debt was at 41% of GDP in 1984. The United Kingdom the major New Zealand export market had join the European Union in 1973, and since had to endorse a quota where they could only import a certain number on overseas products. Under the National Government, New Zealand was close to self-sufficiency because the government refused to import products from overseas. The public were to losers in this situation as there were a limited number of products offered for sale, and they were also quite expensive too. This called for some desperate transformation. When the Labour Party was elected under David Lange, they immediately changed the sectors that they thought needed urgent attention. They were Capital Markets, Financial, Industry, and International Trade. Other reforms occurred in 1985 Monetary, 1986 Tax and Corporatisation, 1988 Privatisation, 1989 Public Expenditure, 1990 Labour Market, and 1991 Resource Management and Social Services. In fact all state sectors underwent some sort of alteration at some stage. The period from 1984 "“ 1994 was dubbed "a period of radical change." These reforms occurred simultaneously and some are still being refined now. From 1995 onwards there was a second period of "slower paced evolutionary" activity. 1999, OECD Government Reform The key idea in the reform process was to "roll back the state" "“ in other words focus more on what a government should do which is, governing the people. Defining a government's core business can be difficult because in every country it is different, even in New Zealand. It is also difficult to set limits as its role is constantly changing; however, the main consistencies are those of Health, Education, Defence, and Welfare. Some restructuring and reforms affected these sectors. The New Zealand Government owned many enterprises such as State Insurance, Air New Zealand, New Zealand Rail, The Bank of New Zealand, and Telecom. In 1987 most of these assets were sold. By doing this it meant the Government could pay off large accumulated debts and allow these companies to become more efficient. After the sale of these SOEs that the New Zealand Government has become more efficient too, they can focus on their primary task by providing essential services. Some of these services include public hospitals, education, benefits, and emergency relief. From the reforms came a radical change in New Zealand trade. In 1984 the Government devalued the New Zealand Dollar by 20%, then in 1985 introduced a floating exchange rate. Along with that, the removal of agricultural subsidies and import tariffs. It allowed New Zealand to be a fairer country to trade with. As a direct result, the trade competitive index jumped from 0.72 on 1985 to 0.98 in 1987. Foreign investment increased as the New Zealand Dollar strengthened against the 'green back' and the pound. Consequently, importing and exporting firms benefited from the change in policies. The services that the New Zealand Government provides have ongoing restructuring which means altering an already established department in the State Sector. The State Sector Act 1988, "which departmental Chief Executive is fully accountable for managing their organisations efficiently and effectively, and changed the role of the State Services Commission from employer to manager of public service to employer of Chief Executive and Advisers to the Government about the management of the State Sector." 1999, OECD Government Reform Restructuring of this sector is eliminating inefficient staff positions, creating more high-ranking positions as overseers and advisers for a more effective business activity. It could even mean closing factories or offices not required any more. Centralising corporate headquarters from Warkworth to Auckland, or closing a freezing works in Masterton and moving operations to Takapau is another example of restructuring. It removes the burden from the government so they can concentrate on other areas. In 1991 the Employment Contracts legislation allowed unionism to become voluntary instead of compulsory. This meant their power over employment negotiations weakened. Then in 2000, the Employment Relations Act amended small pieces of the Employment Contracts Act. Employees had to be registered in the union to take advantage of the rights the legislation offers. The union must register at the Department of Labour under the following conditions: they must be independent from the employer, and be a democratic organisation. While unions have reduced its influence, many "traditional organisations became more active supporters of the reform process." 1999, OECD Government Reform Of the radical reform period, consultation and communication with the general public has been minimal. As new bills were passed, the general public needed to be informed of the changes. As time moved on, more publicity was made when changing major legislation, or adding new acts. During the Employment Relations Bill the media had in-depth interviews and reports about the possible changes ONE News, Face The Nation, and 3 News. Another example of this is when the Inland Revenue Department removed the Income Tax Return forms IR5s. Television advertisements and mailed brochures informed the public about the change. Two parts of consultation with the public relating to amending acts or the addition of new ones, involves pre government approval. This is where key interest groups are consulted during the developmental stages of new legislation. The other is when a Select Committee who studies any public submissions made; adjusting the report before it is voted upon in the House of Representatives. 1999, OECD Government Reform This means the general public is able to have a say in the bills that are passed through Parliament and are informed of the outcome. Businesses can take advantage of this and appoint representatives to understand the new laws and acts. In addition, they can help the government change legislation in order to help their business flourish. By doing this they are discussing legislation with the people who change it. This can enhance the performance of New Zealand businesses by letting them know about any changes to their economy, such as exporting agreements and sales tax changes. The changing role of the New Zealand Government has let to a change in operation and organisation of business activity. Ever since the SOEs were sold off State Insurance for example the companies have been more efficient, and therefore more competitive. The customers have reaped the many benefits of the privatised and corporatised companies. The products of better quality, more focused and expert customer services, and cheaper prices. Sales staff are now more helpful and have a better product knowledge. The other companies like National Insurance have responded to this by offering similar incentives to resecure their customers. They have also done some restructuring to maximise output. As a result, the economy has grown, and the level of business activity has increased. These two combined changes have resulted in many different outcomes. The inflation rate has dropped down 17.3 percentage points in a short space of six years from 18.2 in 1986 to 0.9 in 1993. 1996, A study of Economic Reform This result is one of the many factors and reforms the New Zealand Government have worked on during that period. But there is the down side, the unemployment rate rose quickly in the same period. From 4.1% in 1987 to 10.2 in 1993, that's 6.1 percentage points in 6 years. The sale of SOEs and restructuring of existing enterprises has both positive and negative results. The Employment Contract Act 1991 and the Employment Relations Act 2000 has enabled employees or unions to bargain or negotiate with the employer over agreements. This has caused employers to provide better employment packages for the workers, such as health and ACC. In conclusion, the New Zealand Government has changed its roles, scope and functions over the past 15 years. As a result, it has affected the operation and organisation of business activity in New Zealand. The purpose of a government is to govern the people, and not the economy. Since 1984 the Government have sold off many assets from different parts of the economy. They have altered every aspect of the state sector. Government Departments that still exists has been restructured to become more efficient. They have done this by removing staff positions, shutting down factories and offices and relocating them somewhere else. New legislation has changed the employment contracts and unions in 1991 and in 2000. All the changes to the State and Public Sectors have brought about a better and brighter future for us all in the long run.   

The New Zealand Government has made significant changes to the economy throughout the last 15 years. The operation and organisation of business activity in New Zealand has been affected by this changing economy. All aspects of the New Zealand Government have been altered. The reason for this change was to...

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1. A little over a decade...1. A little over a decade after the "collapse of Communism", it might appear that Marxist theory has been relegated to little more than an historical or even archeological artefact with little relevance to or influence over an ever encroaching and expanding, globalising capitalism. Socialism "proper", as a state economic model and ideology seems to have been banished to the margins of the world scene. The disastrous results in terms of the dictatorships and totalitarianism that have ensued wherever an attempt has been made to implement a socialist model; the Fukuyaman proclamation of the "end of history" after communism collapsed, this end being equated with the eschatological triumph of free-market capitalism; and the insistence of multinational enterprises and capitalist governments on the expansion of global capital appear to some extent to have marked the death of socialism and marxist critique. 2. However, it cannot be denied that fundamental contradictions remain and are increasing in intensity. Recent events, such as often violent demonstrations whenever and wherever bodies seen to be representative of global capitalism, such as the World Trade Organisation, meet, and the upsurge in anti-western sentiment, especially in Islamic middle-eastern nations, point to a trend that now denies the triumphant mood in the West during the early nineties. Magnus and Cullenberg referred to these already in 1994 in their Introductions to Derrida"s Specters of Marx: Given the difficulties some democratic, free market economies are experiencing - including the plight of the homeless, the lack of adequate health care, environmental degradation, and enormous debt burdens - what sort of model for the future do we have? And what is one to make of the destructive, even violent "nationalisms" which have followed in the wake of the collapse of communism, not to mention virulent forms of ethnocentrism and xenophobia perhaps not seen since Hitler"s Germany? What does this imply then for"¦the global economy and life throughout our shared world? viii Derrida also takes note of the economic contradictions undermining the "end" of history: And how can one overlook, moreover, the economic war that is raging today both between [the United States and the European Community] and within the European Community? How can one minimize the conflicts of the GATT treaty and all that it represents, which the complex strategies of protectionism recall every day, not to mention the economic war with Japan and all the contradictions at work within the trade between the wealthy countries and the rest of the world, the phenomena of pauperization and the ferocity of the "foreign debt", the effects of what [Marx"s] Manifesto also called "the epidemic of overproduction" and the "state of momentary barbarism""¦it can induce in so-called civilized societies, and so forth? 1994: 63 3. We have seen the effects of the GATT conflicts in cities like Seattle and Melbourne, with large-scale demonstrations against the World Trade Organisation. Much more powerful, shocking and consequential a symbol of late capitalist contradictions, however, is the destruction of the towering World Trade Centre in New York by suicide bombers earlier this year and the ensuing "War on Terrorism" waged by the West upon Afghanistan. 4. It seems though, that with the "end" of history, the West has also experienced the loss of history. A truly critical self-analysis, requiring at least a depth consistent with that of the Marxian tradition is patently lacking in light of the virtually automatic and instant response of what has been widely dubbed as the "War on Terrorism" as opposed to, say, " Yet another War in Afghanistan". 5. What of the "reality" of socialism though? Feher, Heller and Markus 1983 have argued that, whatever else they have been, those countries which have defined themselves as socialist have been anything but. Socialism has not yet actually existed: The new society, the "dictatorship over needs", is neither a novel, modified form of state capitalism, nor is it socialism - it is "something else". It is a social formation completely different from any that has existed in European or world history to date and it is equally different from any relevant conception in terms of which socialism, either "scientifically" or in a utopian manner, has ever been conceived 221. As they go on to explain, one of the reasons for this spectacular failure of socialism to become a real social formation is that, Marxism and socialist theories in general were much too self indulgently value-free, in the positivistic sense typical of nineteenth-century theories, to make unambiguously clear the conditions, the fulfilment of which would constitute socialism and conversely, the conditions, the want of which constitutes an anti-capitalist formation, which however cannot and should not be identified with socialism Feher, Heller & Markus, 1983: 229. 6. Both Lukacs" concept of reification and Heller"s analysis of the Marxist theory of needs, which I attempt to elucidate here, are themselves attempts to counter this positivism inherent in Marxism, which has tended to plague socialism to its extreme detriment wherever it attempts to engender itself as a social reality. This type of curbing of positivism in Marxian critique has appeared elsewhere also, for example in Baudrillard"s [Symbolic Exchange] which tends to criticise the valorisation and naturalisation of the concept "work" over and against that of excessive "play", and in Derrida"s already cited Specters of Marx 1994, which highlights particularly that historically sited Marxism and communisms are mediated by the societies, cultures and traditions in which they appear and argues for a plurality of Marxisms and even of the proper name Marx. 7. Concepts such as Lukacs" "reification" and Heller"s "dissatisfaction" are still valid, especially in light of the triumphant "self-indulgence" and "positivism" of capitalist theories, such as globalisation and economic rationalism, which are now attempting in a similar manner that appears to many people as more dictatorial than democratic, at the least in a "sinister" manner, to become global social realities. For this reason I have digressed somewhat: too often university essays can seem abstract exercises, with little relevance to the "real" world, but in digressing onto recent historical contradictions, I want to highlight that Marxist theory need not die peacefully at all, or simply be an academic exercise in a theory which is only of historical interest. 8. Both Lukacs in his analysis of reification and Heller in her analysis of needs in Marx posit as central effects of commodifaction the fact that the worker becomes dominated by and alienated from his own activity and labour power - the effect of commodification is fundamentally one of estrangement and alienation. Heller 1974: 48 defines this as follows: In alienation and particularly in capitalism the end/means relation inherent in labour is turned upside down and becomes its opposite. In commodity producing society, use value the product of concrete labour does not serve to satisfy needs. Its essence consists, on the contrary, in satisfying the needs of the person to whom it does not belong. The nature of the use value that the worker produces is all the same to him; he bears no relation to it. Hence, the worker in modern capitalism is alienated from his labour as concrete because its product serves to satisfy the needs of someone else, not his own. What the worker performs for himself is "abstract labour" 48 which he performs for another in exhange for money in order to satisfy his own necessary needs, which labour appears then as an obectivated commodity when rendered as concrete. The result is that "capitalist industry and agriculture do not produce for needs, nor for their satisfaction. The end of production is the valorisation of capital, and the satisfaction of needs on the market is only a means towards this end" 49. 9. Lukacs renders this alienation in terms of the reification of the commodity: What is of central importance here is that because of this situation [commodity reification] a man"s own activity, his own labour becomes something objective and independent of him, something that controls him by virtue of an autonomy alien to man 1971: 86,87. 10. Although Lukacs sources his analysis of reification in the section in Marx"s Capital entitled "The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret thereof" Lukacs, 1971: 86, we can see the essence of both of the above citations in Marx"s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts. In these, in a much stronger tone than is used in, say, Capital, Marx already develops the themes of alienation, commodity reification and the concept of the worker"s needs and their satisfaction, or the impossibility of satisfying these under capitalism. In terms of reification and the alienation of man"s labour, Marx writes: "¦the worker sinks to the level of a commodity and becomes indeed the most wretched of commodities"¦the wretchedness of the worker is in inverse proportion to the power and magnitude of his production"¦ The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and size. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates"¦ Labour produces not only commodities: it produces itself and the worker as a commodity - and this at the same rate at which it produces commodities in general Marx, 1997: 60-62. This process has the direct effect of alienating the labourer from the object in the capacity of the product of his labour: The worker puts his life into the object; but now his life no longer belongs to him but to the object. Whatever the product of his labour, he is not. Therefore the greater this product, the less he is himself. The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labour becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him, independently, as something alien to him"¦ 62 This is a process of instrumentalisation that is affecting the worker. It results in "estrangement, the loss of the object, of his product" 63, which in turn directly affects the needs of man and how they are satisfied, which is the focus of Heller"s analysis. As a result of alienation, man"s need becomes ever greater, but the only way he can respond to his need is in the selfish objectification of the other: Man becomes ever poorer as man, his need for money becomes ever greater if he wants to master the hostile power [which is the need as alien power placed in him by the other, so that the other may attempt to satisfy his own need - which turns humans into mere means towards an alien end: that of profit]. The power of his money declines in inverse proportion to the increase in the volume of production: that is, his neediness grows as the power of money increases 82. The culmination of the alienation of labour and subservience of man to alien, "imaginary" 82 needs is the triumph of money [defined in "The Fetishism of Commodities"¦" as the ultimate form "of the world of commodities that actually conceals, instead of disclosing, the social character of private labour, and the social relations between the individual producers" Marx, 1954: 76], as virtually omnipotent, taking the natural place of the human being, relegating humans to something like the "mist enveloped regions of the religious world" 72 from wich, by analogy, the Fetishism itself was originally derived: The less you are, the less you express your own life, the more you have, i.e., the greater is your alienated life, the greater is the store of your estranged being. Everything [taken] from you in life and in humanity, [is replaced] for you in money and in wealth; and all the things you cannot do, your money can do. It can eat and drink, go to the dance hall and the theatre; it can travel, it can appropriate art, learning, the treasures of the past, political power - all this it can appropriate for you - it can buy all this: it is true endowment 84. However, the one thing it specifically cannot do, is fulfil human need, for money only wants to create and multiply itself, whilst the worker, finally, may only own as much as will make him want to go on living, needing always more, in a perpetual cycle of dissatisfaction. 11. Lukacs" concept of reification is particularly elucidated in the essay "Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat" especially in the section "The Phenomenon of Reification" which appears in History and Class Consciousness 1971. The term "reification", however, is a rather unwieldy one, and suffers from a symptom that foreign terms often tend to suffer when translated into English: the tendency to use uncommon or obscure terms in English. We note a similar fate in the translation of Freud"s "das Ich", literally "the I", rendered as "the Ego"; and "das Es", literally "the it", rendered as "the Id". The term "reification" is hardly an everyday word, and its verb form "to reify" is defined by the Encarta World English Dictionary as, "to think of or treat something asbtract as if it existed as a real or tangible object". The original German term is "Verdinglichung" Lukacs, 1923, which conveys the sense of the process of being changed into a thing. That which is changed is the "relation between people" Lukacs, 1971: 83 which "takes on the character of a thing" 83. The key impact of Lukacs" analysis lies in his invocation of the word consciousness. As Johnson 1984: 10-11 draws out, Lukacs locates the revolutionary dynamic in the social existence of the worker, as opposed to mechanical economic laws which are supposed to inevitably and automatically transform capitalism into socialism. Lukacs consequently relates consciousness to the whole of society 1971: 51 in order to infer or impute consciousness to the proletariat "as if they were able to assess" 51 their objective situation. This is may be identified as the anti-positivist strain in Lukacs" thought, which is later specified in his criticism of "vulgar Marxism", which "bases itself on the "natural laws" of economic development which are to bring about these transitions by their own impetus and without having recourse to a brute force lying "beyond economics"" 239. However, because - as argued above - humans are, in capitalism, become completely subservient to and in thrall to perpetually generated imaginary needs which might be defined as "luxuries" which they are all too busy attempting to satisfy, the worker is continually persuaded of his subjective value in terms of his consumptive power mediated by money - even if this subjectivity is only in the end a "false consciousness". Therefore the proletariat cannot become aware in order to analyse its situation with a view to achieving true consciousness and revolution. In the end, Lukacs is forced to rely on the Communist Party as a mediating power for the imputation of a revolutionary class consciousness. 12. Heller"s analysis of needs in Marx on the other hand, specifically the analysis of radical needs, proposes that "the worker becomes conscious of the contradiction between the need to develop his personality and the "accidental" character of his subordination to the division of labour" Heller, 1974: 90. This consciousness is precipitated by the emergence of radical needs, which are needs which capitalism is structurally incapable of satisfying. However these needs "cannot be "eliminated" from capitalism because they are necessary to its functioning"¦ it is not the Being of radical needs that transcends capitalism but their satisfaction" 76. Where dissatisfaction of radical needs then becomes a historical reality, the possibility of transcending capitalism also becomes real. Take for example the notion of "free time": [The worker] is convinced that from a certain point onwards capitalism is incapable of shortening labour time any further: the need for free time then becomes in principle a radical need, which can only be satisfied with the transcendence of capitalism. When related to the need for free time, the character of "radical needs" is brought out in a particularly striking manner: it is produced by capitalism itself, by its contradictory character, and thus belongs to the very functioning of capitalism"¦ At the same time, need itself mobilises the working class into transcending capitalism 91. Heller"s analysis of needs in Marx thus offers the possibility of the working class becoming conscious of its own situation and revolting against it in a manner which Lukacs" theory of reification cannot. Lukacs in History and Class Consciousness is forced to arbitrarily and unconvincingly rely on the party as mediator of the revolution - however the question remains, If the proletariat is incapable of coming to consciousness, what will guarantee that the Party is any more unfalsely conscious than the proletariat it is supposed to represent? It would appear that the history of the Communist Party has shown that there is no guarantee of this whatsoever. As Heller reminds us: As yet, history has not answered the question as to whether capitalist society in fact produces this "consciousness exceeding its bounds", which in Marx"s day did not exist, and whose existence Marx therefore had to project 1974: 95.   

1. A little over a decade after the "collapse of Communism", it might appear that Marxist theory has been relegated to little more than an historical or even archeological artefact with little relevance to or influence over an ever encroaching and expanding, globalising capitalism. Socialism "proper", as a state economic...

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