Liam Hehir explains Labour’s crisis crisis.
In 1991, the Soviet Union unravelled.
Its empire had been lost, its constituent regions declared independence and its economy crumbled. After decades of failure, the will to preserve the Soviet state was exhausted.
Nineteenth-century America was bitterly divided by slavery. This eventually led that country to civil war in which more than one million people were killed. At times, the very existence of the country hung in the balance.
The 3rd-century Roman Empire found itself beleaguered on all fronts. With the assassination of the emperor in 235, the Romans were plunged into a half century of repeated barbarian invasions, rebellious provinces, civil wars, plague outbreaks and the economic turmoil caused by currency debasement, known today as “quantitative easing”.
In each case, the countries involved were facing critical challenges to their existing order. In other words, they each found themselves confronted with a “crisis”.
Some came through better than others. America survived her civil war and is better for it. Rome got lucky with some good emperors and managed to buy another century before its final collapse in the West. The Soviets’ crisis was too much for their rotten states to withstand.
Many of our opinion-makers seem to be of the view that New Zealand is in the grip of a great crisis. Looking back through the news this year, we have seen the proclamation of a manufacturing crisis, an agriculture crisis, a regional economy crisis, a trust in politicians crisis, a healthcare budget crisis, a mental health crisis, an income inequality crisis, a wealth inequality crisis, an obesity crisis, a teacher recruitment crisis, a log-supply crisis, a water crisis and a casual racism crisis.