The basic concept behind free-market economics was simple and seductive: the government should not attempt to pick winners by granting assistance to specific industries, and it should only intervene in the market in circumstances where there has been a substantial market failure. The only trouble with this theory - as the global economic disaster has shown - is that it is based on ideology, not evidence, and that it can't withstand contact with reality. For decades, Australia has been an enthusiastic adopter of this approach. The consequences - such as mass privatisations, tariff reforms, and flexible wages and conditions - have been lauded by the booming financial sector and the political class. Unnoticed in the hubbub, though, has been the annihilation of the manufacturing sector - which has resulted in 20 years of monthly current-account deficits, a foreign debt approaching $650 billion, and an economy dominated by footloose capital and tax-averse multinationals. Despite propaganda to the contrary, employment in Australia is now increasingly characterised by low-paid and insecure jobs in service, logistics, and retail industries. The Failure of Free-Market Economics explains how the triumph of a fundamentally flawed economic orthodoxy has weakened the Australian economy and now threatens our future. It also offers a range of practical reforms that the author argues are essential and urgent. This is a unique perspective from an expert who started his career inside the free-market establishment and has ended up as a 'true unbeliever' in its ideas.
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'... an illuminating publication that deals with some very important current issues that are of relevance to all in our society.'--Dan O'Gorman SC "Hearsay "