sign up log in
Want to go ad-free? Find out how, here.

The 2016 Interesties featuring John Key, Donald Trump, Graeme Wheeler, 'maniping,' Metiria Turei, Tony Alexander, Nathan Penny, Nelson's stock exchange, Andrew Little, Chloe Swarbrick, David Hisco, bad hair & a dictator

The 2016 Interesties featuring John Key, Donald Trump, Graeme Wheeler, 'maniping,' Metiria Turei, Tony Alexander, Nathan Penny, Nelson's stock exchange, Andrew Little, Chloe Swarbrick, David Hisco, bad hair & a dictator

By Gareth Vaughan

Somewhere in the frozen north there's a large man getting out his red suit, checking the reindeer and preparing his sleigh. Yes, it's Christmas time again.

Where did 2016 go? In what seems like the blink of an eye, another year has flown by. And it has certainly been an eventful one, both here in New Zealand and right around the world.

Thus it must again be time for our annual Interesties Awards, where we take a light hearted look at the events and people that made our news this year.

As ever, we welcome your comments (and additional awards) in the comment thread below.

Here's wishing all readers, viewers, contributors and commenters a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and fulfilling 2017. And thanks for your support during 2016.

All the previous versions of our annual Interesties awards can be found here.

Banking, finance & economics awards

The William Trubridge Freediving Award - The Reserve Bank for cutting the Official Cash Rate (OCR) to a record low of 1.75%.

The Zero to Hero Award - ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny for steadfastly sticking to his $6.00/kg Fonterra 2016/17 milk price forecast when some observers, including one close to my keyboard, thought he was either wildly optimistic or completely bonkers. Incidentally, on Wednesday Penny's forecast was increased to $6.50/kg. 

The You Don't Know How Lucky You Are (To Still be in Business) Award - Disgraced insurer Youi (see more on this below).

The Dame Susan Devoy Services to Race Relations Award - Westpac NZ for its "Hello Asian" email.

The Limbo Dancer's Lower and Lower Award - The OCR.

The Dingo Deans Award for Services to Australian Shareholders - ANZ New Zealand CEO David Hisco (pictured right) for his banks' $1.32 billion worth of dividends, equivalent to 86% of annual cash profit.

The Better Late Than Never Award - Chairwoman Janet Yellen and the rest of the US Federal Reserve's Federal Open Markets Committee for finally hiking interest rates at their last meeting of the year.

 The Politically Explosive Suggestion Award - IAG NZ's chief risk officer Karl Armstrong for suggesting insurance policyholders in parts of the country less prone to earthquakes will stop subsidising policyholders in more risky parts of the country.

The Best Name in New Zealand Banking and Finance Award - Having unwittingly ignored him for several years, (see last year's Interesties), Nikko Asset Management fixed income analyst Tim O'Loan can have this one for a second consecutive year. Honourable mentions go to former winners SBS Bank chief financial officer Tim Loan, and PwC partner Chris Money.

The Slipping Under the Tax Dodging Radar Award - Visa and Mastercard. (Although we did highlight their tax positions here).

The Are We Still Relevant Award? - Governor Graeme Wheeler and his Reserve Bank colleagues as their Monetary Policy lost potency.

The Indiana Jones Last Crusade Award - Reserve Bank head of prudential supervision Toby Fiennes who thinks he may have found his holy grail in the prudential regulator's "Dashboard Approach" to bank disclosure. (The trading banks disagree).

The Master Griller Award - Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for roasting Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf (see below).

The His Master's Voice Award - ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie for predicting (correctly) that banks wouldn't be passing on much of the OCR cuts to borrowers.

The Bringing the New Zealand Financial Services Sector Into Disrepute Award - Shared by the Financial Service Providers Register and its overlord the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. Why? See here.

The Quote of the Year Award - Won jointly by Port Motueka resident Dan Oakeley and Aucklander “Sharma N”, who both featured in Diana Clement's outstanding Youi expose.

Oakeley posted this on Youi’s Facebook page:

“I nearly lost the will to live too, but hung on in there. They finally quoted me $500ish nearly twice what I pay with AMI. Youi(d) best leave them alone..BASTARDS,,,!” 

And here's “Sharma N”:

 “I told them not to start any of the policies unless I call back to go ahead. After (a) couple of weeks I saw three different withdrawals from my saving account around $950….for my home insurance and the rest for contents and car. No approval. No policy documents. Not even a single letter from them and they took this amount from me. Unbelievably shocking.” Sharma added: “Literally they made me beg them for my own money; calling them thrice a day/repeating the whole story to a new sales rep every time/putting me on hold for hours.” 

The Say What? Award - The revelation that Nelson had a stock exchange, supposedly based in the building below.

The How Not to Incentive Your Staff Award - Youi. Again, courtesy of Clement. Here's a a couple of examples of why Youi takes this gong.

The second ex-employee said it was common practice to change the date houses were built in order to reduce the premium. “If you put that your house was built in 1920, the agent might change it to 2015. That would make it a lot cheaper.” That’s because the system then spits out a cheaper premium and the staff members gets paid a “commission” for it, he said.


“If you didn’t get enough sales every day (managers would say) ‘what’s the point of you being here if you are not selling’,” one said. “If you didn’t data manipulate, the premiums are ridiculously expensive. If you were an honest person you didn’t sell anything.” One of the highest earning staff members allegedly advised him: “manip your data man”.

The Unfortunate Word of the Year Award - One last contribution from the Youi files; "Maniping." And here's the explanation:

Manipulation of data, the worst allegation faced by Youi, was so common there was in-house jargon with staff calling the practice “maniping.”

The Secret Squirrel Award - TSB Bank for refusing to acknowledge it's lending money through peer-to-peer lender Harmoney.

Property awards

The (Political) Lifetime Services to Auckland's Property Bubble Award - Recently departed Prime Minister John Key.

(Moreu cartoon above from The Timaru Herald).

The Worst Attempt at Spin Award - The Government for talking of a "housing challenge" and refusing to acknowledge a "housing crisis."

The Speaking Sense, Albeit From a Perspective of Self Interest, Award - ANZ's David Hisco for publicly ringing the alarm on the housing market here and here.

The Pouring Cold Water on a Grand Plan Award - BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander for pointing out building 422,000 houses in Auckland over 25 years, as touted by the Unitary Plan, requires a volume of building that previously took 161 years to achieve.

The Defence of Baby Boomers Dominating the Housing Market Award - Tony Alexander. Detail here.

The Services to Cartels Award - Several of the country's biggest real estate agencies, including Harcourts and Barfoot & Thompson, who were fined millions of dollars for price fixing.

The She Said What?! Award - Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei for saying house prices need to fall.

The Heads Buried in the Sand Award - To those banging on that Auckland's housing problems are solely a supply issue. Debunked by our own Greg Ninness here.

The Please Beef Up My Toolbox Award - The Reserve Bank's Graeme Wheeler, who is still seeking government approval for the inclusion of a tool limiting debt-to-income ratios for residential mortgage borrowers in the central bank's macro-prudential toolkit. (Don't hold your breath Graeme).

Political awards

The I May be in the Game After All Award - Labour Party leader Andrew Little.

Recipient of the Early Christmas Present That Could Turn Into a Hospital Pass Award - Bill English for succeeding John Key as Prime Minister. 

The (Former) New Zealand Politician Most Likely to Boost Hawaiian Tourism Award - John Key.

The Politician Most Likely to Start World War III Via Twitter Award - US President elect Donald Trump.

The Ye Olde British Empire Divide and Rule Award - Donald Trump.

The You Know When the Systems Broken Because Award - Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton running as the two candidates for US President.

The Politician Whose Career is Most Likely to End in 2017 Award - Take your pick from Andrew Little, Bill English, Murray McCully, Nick Smith, Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Peter Dunne, Gareth Morgan, Malcolm Turnbull (Aussie PMs have a short shelf life these days), or Donald Trump.

The There's Nothing to See Here Move Along Award I - John Key in regards to the housing "challenge."

The There's Nothing to See Here Move Along Award II - John Key in regards to the Panama Papers.

The There's Nothing to See Here Move Along Award III - Shared by John Key, Steven Joyce and Bill English in regards to record population gains from migration.

The Search For Charisma (And Still Looking) Award - Andrew Little.

The Charismatic Speaker of the Year Award - Michelle Obama.

 The Bravery Award - Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei for saying house prices need to fall.

The Global Puppet Master Award - Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Giving Generation Y Hope Award - the new Greens recruit Chloe Swarbrick.

The My Time is Coming I Can Just Feel It Award - NZ First leader Winston Peters basking in Brexit and the election of Donald Trump with this Facebook post:

Today the USA joined the UK in sending the establishment a message. The same thing that happened today in the US, and what happened earlier with Brexit in the UK, is happening here in NZ. Many of you, just as in the UK and USA, have been used and abused by the old political parties, and all of the new ones, except one. You’ve been ignored by the political parties who have been blind to your problems and deaf to your voices. My message to you today is, “I hear you. I see your troubles and help is on the way.”

The Obsessed With What Max Key's Saying & Doing on Social Media Award - Shared by the NZ Herald and Stuff websites.

The Please Stop Telling Us What He's Up To Now His Dad Has Stepped Down Award - Shared by the NZ Herald and Stuff websites in regards to Max Key.

The We're Going to Hell in a Handbasket Award - For the second consecutive year this one goes to Labour Finance Spokesman Grant Robertson for his steady stream of press releases on how National is ruining/has ruined the economy.

The Telling Politicians What's What on Superannuation Award - Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell.

The Central Banker Wading into Politics Award - Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler for his various comments on the bank's plans for debt-to-income ratios and revelations of meetings with senior government ministers.

The Mayor Most Likely to Argue With the Government over Housing and Transport in 2017 Award - Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

The Possum in the Headlights, I Can't Believe We Actually Won, What Will I do now Award - Boris Johnson after the Brexit vote.

The Politician With the Worst Hair Award - Shared by Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. commenter awards

The Welcome Back Award - Gummy Bear Hero.

The Dog With a Bone Award - Shared by Stephen Hulme for his comments on the Reserve Bank's Open Bank Resolution policy, Boatman for his comments on Donald Trump, and Zachery Smith for his comments on anything and everything.

The Sparring Partners For Life Award - Gordon and The Man 2.

The I Was Right, I Am Right, I Am Always Right Award - Big Daddy.

The Blast from the Past Award - Christov.

The Humorous yet Informative Award - Waymad. 

The Good to see him Wade In Occasionally Award - Gareth Morgan.

The Best Name Award - Still loving the old favourites, (see previous editions of the Interesties), but a new winner this year. "dictator." Who would argue with him/her?

Comment of the Year Award - Lots of contenders, but I've gone for the following from PocketAces partly because it was fresh in my memory.

It was in response to a comment that was indeed promptly removed from the thread on this Barfoot & Thompson auction story.

There have, however, been lots of informative, entertaining and humorous comments from readers this year. Thanks to all those who have made them.

Chart of the year 

Dairy prices have been quite a story this year...

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Metiria Turei made the most intelligent statement of the year.


The here today, gone tomorrow award: The Kiwibank govt (NZ post) deposit guarantee.....



Worry not. The RB is coming to the rescue with The Dashboard. The information that they propose to include on their website will give all depositors an immediate and crystal clear picture of the relative risk status off all the NZ banks-Yea Right.
I made a submission and told them that most ordinary investors will not be able to interpret the information without a widespread and sustained campaign of education and since that's not likely to happen,it will be a total failure,but will act as an arse-covering exercise,should one of our banks ever fail.


Wow... I do love Elizabeth Warren... A joy to watch in action..!!

0 to get you blood boiling in a one easy step!


Agreed! I'd like to see someone like that hold some of our politicians to actually answer the question!


Yeah..Elizabeth Warren - legend. If only Stumpf's name ended in a T instead of an F it would be perfect.


Damn shame they couldn't persuade her to run for pres instead of that Hillary. Wall street are sh!t scared of her so that's a positive for a start. Hillary's in donkey deep with those crooks; even her grandkid's half caste Goldman Sachs!


Elizabeth Warren will never get any worthwhile chance to reform the Banks/Wall Street.
The vested interest so deeply entrenched with the support of whatever Administration is in power, will never allow that....
8 years of Obama, not a single Bank senior management executive was proceeded against criminally.
As Warren says..Business as usual.


The failure to bring criminal charges and subsequent imprisonment of the finance sector crooks was one of the reasons the democrats lost the election. Elizabeth Warren pushed hard for prosecution but the Obama administration took Wall Street's side and not the side of justice. The American people were outraged.
Senator Warren reminds me somewhat of our own, feisty but caring, lovely lefty ladies like (the late) Helen Kelly, Lilla Hari, Jeanette Fitzsimmons, Jessica Ardern and actresses Lucy Lawless and Robyn Malcolm; God bless them.


“Too big to care, too big to be policed, too big to worry about regulators and too big for pesky politicians and their inquiries.”


The''' We know they are ripping us off but we aren't going to do anything about it''''' goes to all the customers of the BIG FOUR BANKS.


Hi Gareth. Sorry for being a pedant but I can't help it - 1st paragraph, 'slay' should be 'sleigh'.
Slay is what Santa does to Rudolph when he gets hungry.
Awesome list, thanks.


Thanks for pointing that out. It slipped passed not only me, but also someone else who checked the article who shall remain nameless!
Merry Christmas.


Gareth, thanks for some cracker articles and looking forward to more from you in the new year.

Have a good break, Andrew


Who will galvanise the NZ voter in 2017 and harness the Brexit/Trump/anti-globalisation wave in NZ?
Winston or Gareth Morgan? Or a new, more contrarian Labour leader?


Gareth, why no "Backed the Wrong Side" Award??

(Regarding Flags, Brexits and Trumps of course)

I daren't say my nominee...but I'm assuming he took over use of Bernard's crystal ball? Would be interesting to know what that crystal ball is showing for the 2017 General Election result...

I guess there could have been a "Crying into their Chardonnay award" as well for the greatest show of disbelief to an election result...

Merry Christmas and I'm sure next year will be a boon for property reporting as the housing market turns (much like 2008 and 2009 were)...

PS I'm sure I got an award for "commenter most likely to get up Bernard's nose" or something along those lines back in 2009, though I can't see it I think about it, it may have been a reader's favourite poll, but I do remember winning something...

Maybe I should have won "best predictor of property cycles award"... You can give me that one at the end of 2018 when Auckland house prices are down 20% from their 2016 peak...


The award for ...Turning a mountain into a molehill....tv1 and their coverage of the PANAMA PAPERS.
Meanwhile on tv3 Paul Henry was saying"""if anything significant is found we will let you know."""
TV1 reporters Jessica Mush and Nicky Haggard should be ashamed of themselves.


Not wise to scare the horses, they might bolt.


I feel very honoured to get an award I must say even if the meaning is a synonym for being most annoying. A great site with great comments that always keep me thinking. All the best for 2017!


Thanks for the award,
I knew I was right all along


Wishing Gordon and everyone a merry Xmas and certainly a happy and prosperous new year.
Great that there is the occasional person that doesn't agree with me every single time, otherwise it would becoming boring!


It has been a great year for shares and for FHBers as sales volumes drop in key parts of NZ as a result of RB intervention. Interest rates will continue to rise in NZ next year and when DTI's are introduced for investors it should get even better for FHBers as house price deflation accelerates. 2016 the year when Zach drove many off this site with his constant and inane drivel.


I was afraid that my name on the awards might be a bit triggering. I'm sure I wasn't solely responsible for driving commenters off. I don't want to sound too defensive but I mostly only defended myself, Auckland and at times the honour of NZ past and present. I think some people may have wandered away because they are too sensitive or simply got tired of repeating the same message over and over. Others were banned by the mods such as PeterPen who I really miss and some went into self exile like Justice because of a perceived heavy handed censorship. Special mention too for doublegz who was very upset after being given a good telling off by the management and was never the same again.

Some felt the site had become too leftist and social justice oriented for a publication they felt should be focused more on making money than solving all of society's ills and simply lost interest. Some women seemed to get really upset by my style and the promotion of the special interest group I identify with and couldn't handle criticism even though they dished it out first. But you are not the only one to complain so I will ruminate on things and see if I can adjust my style for 2017. Maybe comment less. I really want this site to be as successful as possible for the owners so thanks for the feed-back gordon.


I always have praise for myself. It's almost as if I selected the winner in the new name category.

I will be celebrating by solving the housing crisis prior to the next election.


If you are indeed the dictator, may I ask who is the mole you use to contribute your dictated comment to herein?


That is a state secret. However the Dictator's reeducation camps will make you excited for a Brave New World.


Let's award New Zealand. Today the UN finally passed a resolution against Israel and it's 'settlements'. New Zealand got to propose it. So proud. Israel is v miffed with us. So good work us.


Already Israel has said that they will not comply with this ''shamefull resolution''which is strange because they usually quote UN resolutions as defence for some of the over the top things that they do.
Well done NZ




Pretty loopy link that one Mortgage. But tit for tat - here is something quite reasonable instead from the NY Times today.
" Yaacov GA - As a dual citizen of both the U.S and Israel, and an IDF veteran with family living in direct line of fire of rocket attacks, I applaud the abstention. There is absolutely no excuse for these settlements, and only serve to agitate the hard line maniacs in control on the other side, and disrupt the peace process. This issue was supposed to have been settled a long time ago, so my apologies, but anyone condemning this decision is ill informed on the issue. To make matters worse, it's the financial backing and heavy lobbying of the religious right in the U.S that's responsible for a great deal of the effort to continue these settlements for their own religious world view."


the bogus data award - LINZ foreign buyer survey


...and the most annoying, overused "corporate cr@p" saying award ..... MOVING FORWARD .....well I never !! ...couldn't be !! ......well, which way do you "really" want to move !!!


Merry Christmas (Old Fashioned Style).

Twas the Night before Xmas and all through the bach
Not even a weta was making a scratch
Woolly socks were hung by the pot belly with care
In the hopes that Santa soon would be there
The children were snoozing in a light summer's breeze
Whilst dreaming of spongy pud and lime green cream freeze
And dad in his walk shorts and me in my jandals
Had just settled down for a couple of handles
When out on the lawn I heard such a ruckus
I sprang from my Lazy Boy to see what the fuss was
I ran to the sliding door, gasping and wheezing
Threw open the curtains and upped the venetians
The moon on the sand and the Trailer tarp
Lit the beach up just like Eden Park
But still when I saw, I thought I was asleep
A miniature Kingswood, pulled by eight tiny sheep
With a little old driver, sipping a Fanta
I knew in a moment, it had to be Santa
Faster than Phar Lap on steroids they came
And he coo-eed and shouted and called them by name
Now, Kevin! now, Sharlene! now, Rangi and Beck!
On, Darryl! On Shazza! on, Bilbo and Shrek!
To the top of the Pagoda, to the top of the wall
Get in behind, Get in behind, Get in behind, All!
As sandflies around a bar-b-que fly
When they sniff the sizzlers and take to the sky
So up to the top of the bach they flew
With a boot full of toys and Santa Claus too
With a handbrake stop, they arrived on the roof
Four Goodyear tyres and 32 hoofs
And as I quickly turned and ran to the lounge
Out from the chimney Santa came with a bound
He was wearing boardshorts, and gumboots on foot
And his Mambos were covered in six-month-old soot
A bundle of toys he had on his back
As if on OE with a brand new Macpac
He looked like he'd come from the beauty parlour
With rosy red cheeks like pohutakawa
A gorgeous big grin and white as white hair
With wee little tufts growing out of his ears
He had a broad chest and a round beer gut
That shook when he laughed like Jabba the Hutt
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly hobbit
And I laughed when I saw him, I couldn't stop it
He gave me a wink and a bonza thumbs up
And I quickly realised he wasn't a nut
He went straight to the socks without saying a thing
And filled them with barbies and Shrek 2 keyrings
Then giving his nose a jolly good scratch
He flew up the chimney with an almighty flash
He jumped in the Kingswood and cranked the ignition
And then they took off, like some NASA mission
But I think I could hear, as he drove out of sight
"Merry Christmas to all, have .............doozy.. good night!"




MB, McCully and his band of prancing ninnys have done a truly evil deed here.
My regards, EP


Sadly , one can only assume that ignorance, ignorance of NZs inherited values and history & the sweep of history, could lead to this fateful decision.


A bit overstated in my opinion. France, the United Kingdom, Russia and China voted for the same resolution. (And the USA chose to abstain for mainly domestic political reasons.) It was a unanimous Security Council resolution - NZ is not unique except in being a small fish in the world political arena and easier for Israel to blame.


So, now UN is bound to send troops to dismantle the settlements ? Just asking...


[ Whoa! Comment deleted. Biased colonial tripe. Its 2017 for goodness sake. Zachary Smith is right. Take such venom and discuss it someplace else. Ed]


This is not a subject we can reasonably or fairly discuss on this forum. The argument needs to be taken elsewhere.


I think "ham n eggs' has done a good job as the forum resident drawing attention to resource limitations for economics. Taking the mantle from Steven in the process, who much have got a more demanding job :-P


I suggest calling it the Cassandra award.


Thank you kind sirs. Because the InterWebs never forget, I dredged up (no bottom trawling 'ere) my predictions for 2016 as follows:

1 - NZ house prices and coastal/lifestyle block sales increase rapidly (combination of immigration, tourism, safe haven investment, loosened credit, continued TLA zoneration stupidity and FOMO)
2 - Gubmint stands by and wrings hands, frowns publicly, counts tax take, smiles privately
3 - Thirty-year war in ME rattles along (see Spengler at )
4 - Europe ditches Schengen (de facto if not de jure): the first purpose of Gubmint is, after all, to protect its citoyen.
5 - Another celebrity or three pops their clogs

1 - yup.
2 - nope - Gubmint Still isn't taxing unearned CG.
3 - yup. Body count in Syria right up there with Awkland house prices.
4 - yup - at least de facto.
5 - yup, although I had clearly misunderestimated inflation in this sector.

After a few more tinnies on a beach somewhere, I may conjure up some 2017 ones, but y'all are just gonna haveta amuse yerselves in the meantime.



here was mine
1 this year i tipped a bear market by the end of the year and was wrong, so will make the same tip must come right sooner or later
Wrong I blame the trump effect
2 FED will only lift twice then have to stop
wrong they only lifted once
3 NZ Government will start to lose ground on housing affordabilty as people lose patience that they actually have any solutions
4 NZ debt private and public will continue to grow and there will be warnings from afar IMB, IMF ,rating agencies ,that it is too high needs to be reigned in
1/2 correct, luke warm warnings now on amber alert
5 if national fall below the margin needed to safely get relected in 2017 JK to retire take a knighthood and head off to some cushy job somewhere
correct waiting on the new years list for arise sir john


The Donald Trump " You are fired ! " Award , 2016 : Judith " Crusher " Collins ... go to the back of the class , Judith ... and resume waiting for your turn to be the hall monitor ... waiting .... waiting ....

The Hamster Wheel Award 2016 : Andrew Little : the little legs are pumping like crazy , but you're still getting no where .... just spinning on the spot , boyo ...

The Services to Political Debate Award 2016 : John Key ! ... now that you're gone , the kiddies can start talking about the naughty stuff once again ; the retirement age , the housing prices and shortages , immigration levels , taxation reform ...

The Gooseberry 2016 Award : The Commerce Commission : for refusing Fairfax and NZME from getting into bed together ... separate rooms , you two ... we're watching !

The Xerox 2016 Award : Fonterra ... for copying the products of smaller rivals ( such as Lewis Road Creamery ) ... but then claiming they were their own innovations all along ... milking it to the last drop , guys ...


This explains why concerns about immigration don't get articulated.

it might seem more logical to begin by asking 'why', but this question has been well answered by Robert Birrell and his various co-writers. He points to a growth lobby centred around interests concerned with the growth of the domestic market in land development, housing, manufacturing and retailing, the interests of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in expanding its activities, the interests of some employers in migrant workers and, more recently, the interests of some migrant communities in pressing for family reunion. There are groups and individuals who have something to gain from population growth and their steady pressure provides an explanation for why immigration has proceeded. But why is it that groups and individuals who may feel that they pay the costs of growth have not organized themselves to try to block the programme? Why has there been no countervailing force? The absence of criticism and of organized opposition is the immediate answer to the question of 'how'; this book is an attempt to give reasons for the absence.…