The Balance of Payments Not All Black

Gareth MorganEconomics

Gareth Morgan, Director of Gareth Morgan Investments

During their World Cup campaign All Black sagacity evaporated. This, rather than any lack of fitness or individual skills was apparent through all of their games. The strategic inadequacy was predominant in the back line. While the forwards were competitive, the backs time and again exposed themselves as incapable of beating the opposition, almost any opposition. That the poll of journalists picked three of the All Black forwards in their world cup squad of best players, but none of our backs, supports the thesis that the back line did the team little credit.

The malfunction of the back unit wasn’t due to lack of individual talent. It became patently obvious seeing the same deficiency from the sideline game after game- even against novice opposition- that the reigning world champions suffered an absence of strategic thinking. That they displayed an ineptitude in utilising the generous supply of ball their forwards provided was nauseating to watch- all the more disappointing given that the late coaching changes were made on the grounds of adding strategic input to the All Black campaign. The coaches involved didn’t instil any strategic variations despite our backs continually being knocked over with the ball in hand. The monotonous use of the up and under became a way of converting certain ball into a lottery of possession, while the only other alternative adopted was the skip pass to the wing -anticipated by one opposition after another, who to a team were able to bundle our wingers out of touch.

That the coaches failed to introduce sufficient variation into the backline activity, should compel their retirement.

There is a parallel to the rugby failure apparent in the operation of the NZ economy. Since 1988 the exchange rate has been in continual decline, handing our exporters an increase in NZ dollar incomes, much in the way the All Black backs were handed a surfeit of ball during the Cup. There are those that believe this will be ensure an export-led recovery. Then there is common sense.

The most successful exporting nations in the world are Germany and Japan- both economies which have experienced long term real currency appreciation. Despite that appreciation their exporting power has increased. Any analyses of their production bases shows it’s product excellence that creates permanent demand and keeps the price elasticity of demand low, at least while the technological and/or marketing edge of products is maintained. Investment, technology, and innovation play an important role in freeing an economy of commodity (price cutting) trading.

A falling real exchange rate and its income redistribution towards exporters, runs the substantial risk of slowing the pace at which our export sector is compelled to graduate from the commodity mentality, which has trapped NZ into low priced, big volume exporting for decades. Like the ill-fated All Black team, with their flush of possession failing to guarantee success, the gift of higher NZ dollar prices, could well instil an expensive complacency in our minds.

The Balance of Payments Not All Black was last modified: December 15th, 2015 by Gareth Morgan
About the Author

Gareth Morgan

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Gareth Morgan is a New Zealand economist and commentator on public policy who in previous lives has been in business as an economic consultant, funds manager, and professional company director. He is also a motorcycle adventurer and philanthropist. Gareth and his wife Joanne have a charitable foundation, the Morgan Foundation, which has three main stands of philanthropic endeavour – public interest research, conservation and social investment.