Category Archives: History of Ideas, Methodology, Philosophy

Good and Faithful Servant: Jas McKenzie 1939-2020

Policy Quarterly Vol 16 No 3 (2020) p.79-80. The earliest assessment of Jas that I recall is that he was ‘New Zealand’s John Stone’, referring to a towering secretary of the Australian Treasury. When I told Jas this, he was appalled because their political views were very different. I explained that the comparison arose because…
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What Happened to Egalitarian New Zealand?

Bob Scott Lecture Series on Inequality, 25 June 2019. (See also Have We Abandoned the Egalitarian Society?) What I want to do this evening is examine egalitarianism. In particular, New Zealand is a less egalitarian society today than it was when I was growing up in the 1950s. Why? How? The structure of the paper…
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Obituary: Ian Francis Shirley

Ian Shirley (28 February 1940 – 20 January 2019) This obituary was first published in “The Policy Observatory” which Ian founded New Zealand’s progressive causes have been driven by a strong sense of social justice. Ian Shirley was one of the nation’s strongest drivers. He was born in Kaiapoi and spent his early years in…
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NEW ZEALAND’S 9/11: UNITY IN DIVERSITY

This was submitted to an American publication but not published.) On 15 March, 2019, a gunman entered Masjid Al Noor, a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, during prayer time, and fired a semiautomatic rifle adapted to shoot continuously. He then went to a second mosque a few miles away, shooting people there too. Altogether 50…
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UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Paper to the Fabian Society, 12 October, 2016   While we continue to chew over the carcass of the Fourth Labour Government – the Lange-Douglas one – we pay little attention to the subsequent Fifth Labour Government. Yet the Clark-Cullen one is greatly shaping the current Labour Opposition and the current National Government. It will,…
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ARE NEW ZEALAND ECONOMISTS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?

The Secretary of the Treasury appears to have doubts.   Pundit: 24 November, 2014.   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;   In a speech to economics teachers  earlier this month, the Secretary of the Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf, argued for a different approach to economics from the one which dominates the profession in New…
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DOES PIKETTY MATTER?

Thomas Piketty says economic inequality has been getting greater in the world, and will get greater. What about New Zealand?   Pundit: 28 October, 2014   Keywords: Distributional Economics; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;   Paul Krugman has said “Thomas Piketty has transformed our economic discourse; we’ll never talk about wealth and inequality the…
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THE PURPOSE OF ECONOMIC POLICY

Published as a briefing paper: 13 May, 2014 (A service being provided by AUT) http://briefingpapers.co.nz/   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;   The annual May budget is a public spectacle. The Minister of Finance is photographed holding aloft a copy of his speech while those from political parties and sectors dominate media discussions…
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Growing Pains

As our main indicator of economic growth, GDP has major limitations.   Listener: 30 January, 2014.     Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History;   The expectation is for normal economic growth in the coming year. The economy peaked in September 2007 and stagnated (in per-capita terms) through to March…
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Poor Show

Why it has taken so long for child poverty to become part of the conventional wisdom.   Listener: 16th January, 2014   Keywords: Distributional Economics; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Social Policy;   Corso, the Council of Organisations for Relief Services Overseas, decided in 1979 that it was wrong to ignore poverty in New…
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MYTH, POLITICIANS AND MARKETS:

The Truth Behind the Free Market by Bryan Gould (Macmillan, $54.95) This review was commissioned by ‘The Listener’ but not used  Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History; The dominant public narrative has a vision of business and the market as progressive forces, held back by unnecessary interventions from politicians and…
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The Archbishop and the Economist

St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society  24 October, 2013   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;   Those who founded this venerable church, more than 160 years ago, might be a little disturbed that the Archbishop of Canterbury should be introduced into it. However my intention is not so much…
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The Austerian Economists’ Error

The Austerian Economists’ Error In the battle of opinions for managing sluggish economies, rhetoric often misrepresents the research.   Listener: 13 June, 2013   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Macroeconomics & Money;   The right response to high unemployment and lethargic economic activity is to cut back government spending, according to “Austerians”, whose…
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Our Muslim Neighbours

Indonesian Muslims don’t necessarily support the opinions and actions of Middle Eastern Muslims.   Listener: 8 June, 2013   Keywords: History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Literature and Culture; Political Economy & History;   I once flew from Dublin to Vienna – both Catholic but with very different atmospheres. The distance from Mecca to Jakarta…
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