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Inequality should be worrying Key

Inequality: A New Zealand crisis

Volume 20, Issue 1

May, 2014

From page
256
to page
259
Hope, W. (2014). Inequality should be worrying Key. Pacific Journalism Review, 20(1): 256-259. Review of Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis, by Max Rushbrooke (ed), Wellington: Bridget Williams, 2013, 279pp. ISBN 9781927131510.
Author(s): Wayne Hope
Reviewed book by Max Rushbrooke
Publication date: 
May, 2014

This book follows international publications, such as Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickets’ Spirit Level (2009) and Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality (2012). After 30 plus years of neo-liberal ideology mainstream social scientists and non-doctrinaire economists had reached a consensus; increasing inequality had worsened social problems without improving economic growth or development. Some well-off people were even prepared to support progressive taxes and increased social provision for the purposes of social cohesion. It was thus hard to sustain an ethical defence of neo-liberal policy programmes. Max Rashbrooke’s introduction to this edited collection notes that New Zealand is a special case. From the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s the rich-poor gap widened faster than in any other developed country (p. 1). Various authors consider the nature, causes and consequences of this development over 15 chapters. Interspersed between them are 14 unique viewpoints on wealth and poverty in New Zealand. A range of graphs, figures and tables give empirical weight to the view that inequality is structurally entrenched and socially damaging