Saturday, April 04, 2015

An Easter quiz

James Bartholomew's new book, The Welfare of Nations is now available.

As with the prior book, The Welfare State We're In, he opens with a quiz.

You can test your knowledge here.

17 out of 22.

I like his comments at the end. The chapter headings look tantalising. Can't wait to read it.


david said...

I wonder how many Metiria would score?

david said...

I'm reading it. It is interesting and looks like a thorough analysis - at least it is well documented. He will, of course, be accused of having pre-conceived views. Interesting how poorly new Zealand scores in most areas - I'm surprised, but maybe that shows how out of touch I am.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Can you easily describe the framework for "scoring" David?

david said...

I am only part way through. But for each of the topics areas he covers –welfare, unemployment, health care, literacy (that’s where I am up to) - he searches out indices that purport to compare achievement between countries such as those put out by the OECD and then visits the countries that are supposed to be the best and worst to see what the reasons might be. But when he talks to people in one country he asks them who they think are the best performers so the narrative almost invariably takes you to somewhere else. I don’t suppose he actually visited the countries in the order of the narrative. He hasn’t visited new Zealand yet, but NZ does feature on some of the initial rankings. His summation of what works and what doesn’t (so far at least) would not surprise readers of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how poorly new Zealand scores in most areas - I'm surprised, but maybe that shows how out of touch I am.

Well yeah NZ is one of the worst performing economics, the fastest increase in government debt, and the overall lowest economic reform performance in the OECD in the last 10-15 years.

Forget Helen Clark - John Key's economic and welfare policies are so far to the left that the EU (not the Mies institute, but the EU!) is forbidding Greece from running policies that are really quite far to the right of NZ"s welfare-state consensus.

We all know what needs to be done: but when even ACT's key policies come down to more state-funded schools, more state-funded prisons, and no cuts to any other social spending, what do you expect to happen?

david said...

To answer Anon, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch". We tried to introduce a form of democracy where at least the lamb was represented in parliament, but this seems to have been usurped by a government that sees its role as simply 'managing' the economy and staying in power by heeding opinion polls. Maybe the worst possible outcome.

Brendan W said...

Thanks for advertising the book.

I have purchased a copy on

I am enjoying reading it.

A tale of the sad and serious side effects of well well intentioned policies.