Joe Hendren

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

New Bruce Jesson collection

I am really pleased to hear a new collection of the work of Bruce Jesson is soon to hit the shelves.

"To Build a Nation" includes a wide range of the late Jesson's writing, from 1975 onwards, including many of his Metro columns and his later reflections in "The republican" and "NZ Political Review". Such a collection is long overdue IMHO.

Jesson was a highly economically literate writer of the left, and used his knowledge of economic history to critique the 'free market fundamentalism' that has plagued his country since 1984. In a touch of irony Bruce warned in 1975 'what a disaster' it would be if the free market fundamentalists ever gained control in New Zealand.

While the current Labour-led government say they are more sympathetic to economic development and other government intervention in the market, I strongly suspect Bruce would call their bluff and correctly criticise Labour for fueling the fundamentalism, while claiming to do otherwise.

If you continue to listen to the audio stream of Linda Clark interviewing Tim Howard about the Philippines, sit through a track of Fat Freddy's Drop, for the next item Linda goes on to review Jesson's "To Build a Nation" with John McCrystal. Although Mr McCrystal gives Bruce a sympathetic review, I got the impression John did not know a great deal about Jesson apart from his reading of the book. I wish the website would allow you to fast forward through an audio feed!

The Bruce Jesson Foundation is hosting an official launch of the book tomorrow at 6pm, in a very appropriate venue - the debating chamber of the Auckland Regional Council.

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