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Reminder – 2013 Bruce Jesson Lecture tonight

Written By: - Date published: 1:18 pm, October 30th, 2013 - 25 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, Politics - Tags: ,

Sir Edmund Thomas – Reducing Inequality: A Strategy for a Cause

The speaker, a Distinguished Fellow at the Law School at The University of Auckland, argues that the gross inequality in income and wealth which besets New Zealand is the outcome of the neo-liberal economic measures of the mid-1980s and early 1990s and the culture of liberal individualism and unfettered free market ideology which it spawned.

A breakdown in social cohesion and a sense of community is the result. Reforms to counter this inequality are widely mooted. But increasing focus and discussion on the topic is confronted by a plethora of mantras and myths purveyed by the rich and powerful. The stimulus for change is deadened.

The speaker advances a strategy designed to provide a coherent impetus to reduce the rank inequality that now prevails.

The Rt Hon Sir Edmund Thomas will deliver the 2013 lecture on Wednesday 30 October, 6.30pm, at the Maidment Theatre (bar opens at 5.30pm).

25 comments on “Reminder – 2013 Bruce Jesson Lecture tonight ”

  1. phil 1

    Love to attend but unfortunately this clashes with Professor Paul Ehrlich’s lecture @ Te Papa, on population bomb update in Wellington. If he’s right we won’t have to worry about neoconservatism. Population bomb or global warming? Waiting confirmation. Guard your garden folks!

    • Martin 1.1

      yes Phil, it seems the penny is finally dropping about climate change. Fukushima will be next: most people don’t know the half of it
      see On Fukushima Beach at youtube.

  2. Ad 2

    This is so cool seeing an ex Supreme Court judge stepping out into politics like this.
    He was astonishing at the GCSB protests.
    Hope I can make it.

  3. Tracey 3

    Yes but john key knows justice thomas is wrong cos key is far more intelkigent and well read

    • David H 3.1

      But Key don’t read anything, as it might make him have to make a REAL decision. IE: Banks.

  4. johnm 4

    Pullya benefit and Shonkey are now pushing the vulnerable off the cliff (denial of legal entitlements to benefit support via red tape and sanctions) and continuing the looting of the Commonwealth of the people: asset sales and removal of citizen’s rights while the “I wannabe rich like Shonkey” crowd cheer from the sidelines.

    Shonkey is nothing but a Wall street Shill, how did a once good country of decent people come to such a pass to have a leader like this? Answer: the neoliberal worship of greed and self advancement , devil take the hindmost.

  5. TheContrarian 5

    I’d like to hear this but live in Wellington. Hoping it is recorded.

    • lprent 5.1

      Have no idea. I started late to it and then couldn’t find parking. Gave up and went home. I hope they do record it.

      • TheContrarian 5.1.1

        If it isn’t no matter – there are other good lectures viewable on Youtube. This one had a NZ bent though which I would have enjoyed.

      • greywarbler 5.1.2

        Someone wrote about the best method to find parking around the Maidment Theatre in Auckland City. If they could write again, or give a spot to get the info, it could then be archived perhaps under the lecture thread.

        I have had a quick look and can’t find it it might have been in Open Mike and not coming up for keyword Maidment.

  6. Paul 6

    Just attended. A demolition of the neo-liberal lie and an exposure of the damage it has wrought on New Zealand.
    Once people of such stature speak with such contempt for this unrestrained form of capitalism, surely the tide is turning.

    • Tat Loo (CV) 6.1

      Big crowd? What was the audience reaction? Was there a chance for questions?

      • Paul 6.1.1

        It was packed.

      • Olwyn 6.1.2

        The hall looked to be full to me, and there were written questions but only time for a few of them.

        The key points he made about the toxic effects of neo-liberalism were: 1. The prioritising of economic over community values. 2. People becoming immune to exploitation – freedom becoming primarily the freedom to take excessive advantage of others. 3. The concept of equality being defined solely as equality of opportunity, so that “the unabashed evil of inequality secures its own advancement. 4. The loss of government intervention causing widespread damage (eg leaky homes) 5. The use of unemployment as a function of economic growth being an affront to human dignity, 6. The abandonment of the idea that paying tax is a civic duty. 7. The demise of the unions. 8. The loss of empathy for those who suffer.

        He said that getting empathy back into politics was the biggest challenge, and also said that the best vehicle we have is human rights. He said we need to rally around the notion of substantive human rights, as outlined in the 1948 declaration, as people have rallied around civil rights. By substantive human rights he means economic, social and cultural rights, the right to earn a living (which to him means a living wage) and to secure housing and such.

        His speech is going to be put up later on the Fabians’ website.

        • karol

          1. The prioritising of economic over community values.


          . The abandonment of the idea that paying tax is a civic duty. 7. The demise of the unions. 8. The loss of empathy for those who suffer.

          Yep. Yep. Yep.

          And been saying some of that, or something similar on my anti-democratic NZ tea party thread.

          • Olwyn

            You have and I agree with you. I was interested too in his idea of substantive human rights as a rallying focus. It gets to the heart of the whole list and is something to which the neo-libs have no ready answer.

            • Tat Loo (CV)

              It’s a big idea. And the Left has been very afraid of big ideas for years. Preferring instead to go down the road of quiet managerialism and halting compromise.

        • Tat Loo (CV)

          Nice synopsis Olwyn.

        • miravox

          Thanks Olwyn. This gives me hope – values, civics, freedom, equality, dignity, empathy and the mechanisms to make it all hang together. I think he got it all in there – really, it’s easy stuff.

          How to get these prioritised by the government, and the general public is much, much harder, with the god of discredited (neoliberal)economics framing the discussion about what sort of country we want.

          I look forward to the listening to the speech when it goes up.

  7. greywarbler 8

    I was looking at keyword Maidment and saw other recent lectures ie Max Rashbrooke’s. While we are thinking of the Sir Edmund Thomas one here are some comments from johnm in September and a link.

    From Inequality lecture series – (Max Rashbrooke who has new book Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis) Sept 12 2013
    johnm 4 13 September 2013 at 10:26 am
    Austerity, inequality, the NeoLiberal project
    “Austerity Threatens to Push 25 Million More Into Poverty: Report
    Oxfam issues “A Cautionary Tale” to show how austerity in Europe is fueling inequality, rolling back social rights”

    “For those not paying attention, recent reports reveal that 80% of us Americans live below, on, or just above the ‘official’ poverty line, which is ridiculously low to begin with.
    Meanwhile, since 2009, 1% incomes grew 31% while the rest of us who are still working increased our incomes 0.4%.
    Austerity or not, it’s time for the Upper Class to declare victory in their Class War. Congrats, uber-greedy minority, ya own it all!”

    “All part of the neo-liberalism international financial and economic plan
    1. Let the market rule and call all the shots
    2. Deregulation
    3. Privatization
    4. Cutting public expenditure for social services
    5. Eliminating the concept of “the public good” or “community” ”

    “Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK – countries that are most aggressively pursuing austerity measures – will soon rank amongst the most unequal in the world if their leaders don’t change course. For example, the gap between rich and poor in the UK and Spain could become the same as in South Sudan or Paraguay,” she added.
    NZ is far down the same road with Key at the helm.

    Inequality lecture series

    johnm 4.1
    13 September 2013 at 11:25 am
    Refuting a Lie: The Pinochet Friedmanite Neoliberal Economic Miracle

    “As you can see, there was no economic miracle under Pinochet. What there was was a typical radical neoliberal massive transfer of wealth from the working classes (the bottom 2/3 of society) to the upper classes (the upper 1/3 of society. The end result was one of the most disgustingly racist and classist societies on the face of the Earth.

    Also note that the Chilean economy takes off after Pinochet left and many of his neoliberal reforms were dismantled. Chile surpasses the Latin American average in 1995, around the time that Chile starting electing Socialists”

  8. Tracey 9

    They usually post the transcript/speech online. They did with hagars last year

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