<>The following is extracted from a funding application. It says about where the book was in early March 2014.
Keywords: Political Economy & History;
Not in Narrow Seas, as its title, suggests is an ambitious history of New Zealand . It is written from an economic perspective.
As such it covers many issues which are often neglected by most general histories. These include:
– the interactions between the environment and the economy (and society generally); the book starts 600 million years ago at the geological foundation of New Zealand;
– the offshore origins of New Zealand’s peoples and the baggage they brought with them;
– there are seven chapters on the Maori plus further material in numerous other chapters;
– there is a whole chapter on the development of the Pacific Islands (after the proto-Maori left) in preparation for the account of the Pasifika coming to New Zealand;
– there are specific chapters on the non-market (household) economy in preparation for an account of mothers entering the earning labour force (one of the radical changes in the 1970s);
– there are five chapters on the evolution of the welfare state;
– the book pays attention to external events and globalisation;
– it could be argued this is the first ‘MMP history’ of New Zealand because it looks at how people voted as well as electoral seats won. (If this seems odd, it is rarely mentioned that when Coates lost power to Ward in 1928 his party won far more votes but fewer seats);
– this is not yet another history of the ‘long pink cloud’. It takes a critical view of the more extreme versions from this perspective, in part because it puts a lot more weight on the farm sector as a progressive force (albeit with its own kind of progressiveness);
– it synthesises the rise of Rogernomics with the events before, showing both the continuities and the disruptions;
– while not a cultural history, it integrates culture and intellectual activity into the narrative.
Inevitably the book traverses disciplines outside the writer’s expertise such as biology, archaeology and anthropology in the opening chapters . Where that has been necessary the writer has followed closely the conventional wisdom in the discipline and the text has been checked by experts. (In fact all the chapters – including the more economic ones – have been checked by experts.) Often though, economic issues are drawn out of the narrative in these areas which extend the perspective of the conventional wisdom.
As, indeed, does the entire book. The economics approach is more similar to the nineteenth century perspective of ‘political economy’, which does not accept rigid boundaries between economics, political studies and sociology. So the book traverses virtually all the social sciences, insofar as they shed light on the development of New Zealand.
The current state of the book (to the end of February 2014) is summarised in at the end of this section. The work program is as follows:
The first 44 chapters (from 600m BP to 1984) are ‘bus’ ready; that is, if the author fell under a bus they could be published with very little extra work. Even so, there is a need to revise the chapters. A main reason for doing so is new material. For instance, Apirana Ngata has a central role in Chapter 29 on Maori development in the first half of the twentieth century. Oliver Sutherland’s since published biography, Paikea, of his father, Ivan, who was a close friend and colleague of Ngata gives further insights into the central issues of the chapter and may involve significant revision. This is but one example of scholarly work published since the chapters were written (including my own work on the Great War economy) which needs to be incorporated (buses willing). There may also be some opportunities for reducing the length and also some restructuring may be necessary.
I currently plan 18 chapters (plus an epilogue) for the events after 1984 taking the narrative up to the present. Three chapters of this section are in early draft. There is a continuity between the chapters before and after Chapter 45 with the central thesis that tardiness over post-war modernisation before 1984 led to the accelerated change in the subsequent decade. The last eight chapters (covering the period from the mid-1990s) will explore to what extent there are continuities and discontinuities with past; suppose the pre-1984 modernisation had been more vigorous and the post-1984 modernisation more moderate.
These two tasks will take at least two full-time years. With such a commitment the book would be published at the end of 2016 or early 2017. The Michael King Writers’ Fellowship would enable the author to achieve this timetable.
(It is proposed to publish the appendices separately on the web. This will be after the final version of the book is submitted to the publisher. It is thought that funding can be seperately arranged for the electronic-publication expenses from alternative sources.)
CONTENTS numbers represent words of written chapters.
1 The Economy Before Mankind 5650
2 The Polynesian Economy Before Commerce 4400
3 The First Settlers 4850
4 Maori Before the Market 6000
5 The Maori Meets the Market 5100
6 The International Context 4800
7 The Early Quarry 4100
8 Governing Begins 4700
9 The First Towns 4200
10 The War Economy 4500
11 The Gold Economy 4200
12 The Wool Economy 5000
13 Maori After the Wars 5000
14 The Vogel boom of the 1870s 5200
15 The Long Depression 6350
16 Auckland at the End of the Nineteenth Century 5650
III. THE PASTORAL ECONOMY
17 The Take-off 5900
18 Industry and Labour 6100
19 Why come to New Zealand? 4300
20 The Rise of the Dairy Industry 4350
21 War, War, War 6450
22 Interwar Transformation 5450
23 The Economics of the Great Depression 5950
24 The Social Impact of the Great Depression 5450
25 The Rise of Labour 6100
26 Development of Social Security to 1972 7050
27 Development of Health, Education and Housing to 1972 8000
28 The Household Sector 4550
29 The Maori Revival: 1900-1950 6400
30 The Second World War 7050
IV POSTWAR PROSPERITY
31 Post-War New Zealand 4550
32 The New Politics 5200
33 The National Boom 6750
34 The End of the Golden Wether 4950
35 The Kirk Years 5700
V POSTWAR CHANGE
36 Second Great Maori Migration 4950
37 The Development of Polynesia 5950
38 Diversity and Choice 5350
39 The Rise of the Earning Mother 5650
40 The Transfer State 7100
VI THE MULDOON ERA
41 The Politics of Muldoon 4600
42 Economic Management Fails 5500
43 Diversification 5900
44 The End of an Era 4500
VII: THE RISE OF ROGERNOMICS
45 The Rise of Rogernomics 5200
46 More Market 5750
47 Commercialising Trading Enterprises 4750
48 Redisorganising Government
49 Populace Democracy
50 Inequality Rises
51 The Attack on the Welfare State
52 Education, Culture and Intellectual Activity
53 The Share Market Collapses
54 The End of Rogernomics
VIII: CONTINUITIES AND DISCONTINUITIES
56 Business Settles In
57 Maori Corporations and the Other
58 The Fifth Labour Government
59 Business Rules; OKey.
60 Regionalisation and Centralism
61 Quarrying and Sustainability
62 Where in the World?
I. The Course of Population 3850
II. The Course of Prices 4200
III. Measuring Economic Activity 2100
IV. The Course of Output: 1860-1939 3250
V. The Course of Output: 1932-1955 2700
VI. The Course of Output: 1955- 3400
VII. The Structure of the Economy 4050
VIII. The Course of Productivity 1450
IX. Patterns of Government Spending 4850
X. Transfers 5650
XI. Debt and Deficits 3300
Asked to explain why it was innovative, I wrote:
The book will challenge much of the standard account of the historical development in a constructive way by introducing new insights, new ways to look at the past. Listing them all would amount to writing the book itself. The following are a few highlights.
Perhaps most important the book will offer an economic framework for historians and other social scientists and a historical framework for economists and other social scientists. For instance, almost all histories have no sense of the variations in prosperity such as the existence of the Long Depression in the nineteenth century followed by the Liberal Boom (nor when the boom finished).Yet the different periods evidently impacted on political and social outcomes.
Another key theme of the book is the impact of the environment. Standard histories are unaware of the loss of soil fertility (until the heavy application of fertilizer from the mid-1920s). Few would be aware that nineteenth-century development was greatly influenced by the impact of the Taupo volcanic explosion in about 220 CE.
There is no detailed history of Maori economic (and therefore social) development from the time of arrival (and before, if the Pacific Island phase can be treated as a part of it) through to modern times, with the urbanisation of Maori, treaty settlements, and the rise of the modern Maori economy. When completed, the total material on Maori will come to about 40,000 words, a small book in its own right.
Another innovation is attention to the history of the non-market household economy (and hence of unpaid work of women). This is vital to an understanding the rise of women’s employment in the 1970s and the way which the welfare state works.
A final example of how innovative the book is its approach to the ‘Rogernomics Revolution’ of the 1980s. Ralf Dahrendorf identified
… two quite different versions of dramatic change. One is deep change, the transformation of core structures of a society which in the nature of the case takes time; the other is quick change, notably the circulation of those at the top within days or months by highly visible, often violent action. The first might be called social revolution, the second political revolution. The Industrial Revolution was in this sense social, the French Revolution was political.
While public commentary tends to treat the 1980s as a political revolution in fact it came on top of – indeed was a response to – a social revolution.
I am confident that the publication of the book will give general historians the confidence to incorporate the economy into their studies in a way which has been notably lacking in the past.