The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform


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It is also, to an extent, subjective in the sense that Pusey, who describes himself as a "middle-of-the-road social democrat", is an absolutely committed critic of economic and structural reform and globalisation, using his research results to mount a passionate condemnation of the social impact of these reforms. The portrait he evokes of middle Australia is deeply worrying. After all, this is the heartland of our civic culture and what emerges from the research is a profoundly troubled, pessimistic populace, which has become distrustful perhaps rightly of where its leaders are taking it and typically holds "strong" to "very strong" feelings of anger and resentment towards politicians, big business and the media.

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One of the few heartening findings is that the majority support "active government" and think the government can do "quite a bit" about job insecurity, the gap between winners and losers, and so on. In other words, middle Australia has not replaced its belief in government with an untrammelled belief in the free market.


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Is there a lesson for a directionless Labor Party there? As Pusey works his way through the survey results, broken into chapters on incomes, jobs, working families, civil society and communities. He argues that the old civic culture on which Australia was based wage awards, arbitration, a strong public service has been torn up by the "reformers" and that the economic results aren't accepted by middle Australia as making up for the highly insecure, distrustful, market-dominated world into which they have been plunged.

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The Experience of Middle Australia

Thus 80 per cent of his survey subjects are insecure about their future, 70 per cent believe wage-earners are the losers in economic reform and 86 per cent feel the income gap between rich and poor is too great. In his previous book, Economic Rationalism in Canberra , Pusey analysed the way neo-liberal economic thinking had taken over the key public service elite; his text popularised the term "economic rationalism". This book is, in some sense, a grander and more ambitious sequel.

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Governments present these frustrations as TINA problems — where There Is NO Alternative — The middle class have few means available to them to find ways to venting their frustrations that might well have been better controlled with an effective state seen as acting in their interests. We shall see the consequences of this soon enough, I suspect. View all 3 comments.

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Home Academic Sociology Sociology: Add to cart Add to wishlist Other available formats: Hardback , eBook Looking for an inspection copy? This title is not currently available on inspection. Meticulously researched, this book is designed to be controversial, provocative and accessible The book comes garlanded with praise from leading social commentators in Australia, United States and the UK Author's previous book on economic rationalism created and led a major public debate for several years; this book is destined to have similar impact The author gets inside how average middle Australians feel about the rapid changes in their lives brought about by economic reform.

Hugh Stretton 'Pusey's provocative and important book is a challenge to contemporary orthodoxies.

The Dark Side of Economic Reform...

Log in to review. How do you rate this item? Reviews must contain at least 12 words about the product. Table of Contents Introduction: Culture in Australia Policies, Publics and Programs. The Other Australia Experiences of Migration. Gender and Institutions Welfare, Work and Citizenship.

The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform
The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform
The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform
The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform
The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform
The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform
The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform
The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform

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