How Neoliberalism Reshaped Australia

It’s a regular refrain in Australian politics: our country is “broke” or in serious debt and we need to reel in government spending to “balance the budget” and support “jobs and growth”.  But why are these dire economic warnings made even after 27 years of sustained economic growth and a world-record resources boom in Australia?

Over a couple of generations, a whole range of public assets from electricity grids to transport services and even public monuments have been quietly sold off, privatised or had their budgets trimmed in line with the values and ideas of an ideology called neoliberalism.  Australians have been told public spending is inefficient and that we have to deregulate markets, cut taxes and slash wages if Australia is to remain globally competitive.  

Economist Richard Denniss has examined the powerful rhetoric of neoliberalism in Australia and pointed out its strange contradictions in the latest Quarterly Essay entitled “Dead Right: How Neoliberalism Ate Itself and What Comes Next.”  Denniss is appearing at Gleebooks in Glebe tonight, in conversation with Jane Caro – bookings essential.  

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