The FIRE inside

From Sunday Morning, 11:10 am on 19 July 2015
Professor Jane Kelsey at her home

Professor Jane Kelsey Photo: RNZ / Philippa Tolley

In the 1980s New Zealand took to neo-liberal orthodoxy with a vengeance. People were told that there would be pain before they would enjoy the gains of a dynamic new economy. It was an orthodoxy that celebrated the markets, profit and risk.

Law Professor Jane Kelsey says that in New Zealand deregulation went so far, and so fast, New Zealand became known as the Wild West of financial markets. The FIRE economy – that is finance, insurance and real estate – is now the principal source of wealth creation.

Scouring the records of data, surveys and commercial information over the years Kelsey has put together a forensic account of just why this is the case, and what it might mean for the future, and the alternatives.

She talks to Wallace Chapman about how New Zealand could be at the forefront of challenging neo-liberalism.

Jane Kelsey is Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, specialising in socio-legal studies, law and policy and international economic regulation.

Jane Kelsey's book The Fire Economy is published by Bridget Williams Books.