Where to From Here?: Australian egalitarianism under threat

Allen & Unwin, 01/04/2003 - 224 páginas
A fascinating treatment of the ultimate Aussie benchmark what is a fair go?

Reverend Tim Costello, Executive Director, Urban Seed

Australians pride themselves on being a classless society where everyone is equal. But are we? Egalitarianism is very much at the centre of public policy debate in Australia today. Many of the most pertinent issues of our time - unemployment, quality of life, public debt, welfare, health, housing, education, the regional divide and the changing balance of power in the workplace - are essentially about distribution and social priorities.

However, there is no mistaking that Australia is in the throes of a major revaluation of its egalitarian values. Successive governments, both Liberal and Labor, have been steadily forging new social norms and turning their backs on many old values once considered untouchable. And the outlook is more of the same. Australia s economic and social gap is widening and its egalitarian foundations are under threat.

Why is this happening? Is it right to blame economists or are cultural, social and political forces more important? Is it an unavoidable consequence of economic liberal reform and globalisation? Has welfare spending become ineffective or even counter-productive? Is it a result of changing community values? Or of political leadership and opinion management? At the end of the day what do the effects of the adoption of less egalitarian policies mean for Australia and what are our options for the future?

In this concise analysis, Fred Argy clarifies the underlying cultural, moral and philosophical forces responsible for the changing face of egalitarianism, and outlines an ambitious, but economically and politically viable, social reform agenda for the future.

This book is for anyone interested in social and political issues and is a valuable resource for students of economics, commerce, political science, and sociology.

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Páginas seleccionadas


The changing face of Australian
Inequalities in access to welfare
Declining progressiveness of the tax system
Regional inequalities
Economic costs of taxation and government borrowing
The social effectiveness of egalitarian
Does social spending crowd out private welfare?
The normative values of the Policy Elite
Changing community and political values
Where to from here?
Subject index

Is social need diminishing?

Palavras e frases frequentes

Passagens conhecidas

Página 183 - Economic exchange across borders leads, ultimately, to "global enmeshment", as "money, people, images, values, and ideas flow ever more swiftly and smoothly across national boundaries
Página 199 - ... Americas Child Care System, Yale University Bush Center, New Haven. KEMPSON, E. (1996), Life on a Low Income, loseph Rowntree Foundation, York. KUCERA, K. and BAUER, T. (2001 ), Does Childcare Pay Off? Evidence for Costs and Benefits of Daycare Centres in Zurich, Department of Social Services, Zurich. LESEMAN, P. (2002), Early Childhood Education and Care for Children from Low-income or Minority Backgrounds, OECD, Paris (in press). LESEMAN, P., OTTER, ME, BLOK H. and DECKERS, P. (1998), "Effects...
Página 30 - The report defined fair financing as a situation where "the risks each household faces due to the costs of the health system are distributed according to ability to pay rather than to the risk of illness."2 Fair financing constitutes one of the three goals to be achieved by national health systems, the others being good health and responsiveness to the expectations of the population. Good health was measured by two indexes — disability-adjusted life...
Página 113 - These foundations lavished money on conservative research think tanks, such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, and the Institute for Contemporary Studies.
Página 82 - Although much of the overseas empirical evidence indicates that the behavioural responses to tax and transfer programs are generally not as large as many of the critics of the welfare state allege, rather little is known about the nature or size of such effects in the Australian context.
Página 170 - For these reasons, progressive liberals believe governments need to intervene to ensure reasonable equality of opportunity. By doing so they can enhance economic and political freedom, promote the selfdevelopment of citizens, remove obstacles to the good life and create a genuine level playing field in the market place. Secondly, progressive liberals are more concerned about distribution outcomes than their 'hard
Página 170 - Thirdly, they are less cynical about the competence and integrity of governments. While acknowledging that competitive markets are better at allocating resources than governments, they believe governments generally have a comparative advantage over markets in macroeconomic management and distribution and can often play a meaningful role in 170 offsetting market failure in resource allocation (where social and private costs and benefits diverge markedly). Ironically, when it comes to 'moral...
Página 163 - Secondly, its reform agenda seeks only to change the methods of policy intervention used by governments — not their policy goals or priorities. It is concerned with means (how best to achieve given goals most effectively and efficiently), not ends (the intrinsic merit of the goals).
Página 170 - Progressive liberals argue that unless people have a capacity for choice — a set of meaningful options — freedom is a sham. For example, without government support, teenagers from poor families will have less education, less access to the new IT and communications technology and more limited employment choice than those from better-off homes.

Acerca do autor (2003)

FRED ARGY has advised governments from Menzies to Keating and has been awarded an OBE and AM for services to economic planning. Fred Argy is the author of Australia at the Crossroads.

Informação bibliográfica