Of the many societal forces that affect us – family, community, government, technology etc. – the economic paradigm under which we live arguably has the most effect on our lives. It can make or break our employment options, it provides technological marvels that enable our creativity or aspirations, it underpins our ‘free’ healthcare and education. Embracing ‘ The Free Market’ and the boom times of capitalism have maintained Australia’s living standards as the envy of the world.
The decision to open Australia up to such opportunities was a conscious choice by the reformist governments of the 70s and 80s. Likewise, the choice to re-evaluate and question the terms of these pacts should also be conscious decisions.
Corporate Capitalism and the economy are not monoliths; yet when governments anthropomorphise an economic mechanism – ‘ The Market will not approve!’ – then you risk turning a system within our control into a deity, all-powerful and immutable. This zealous adherence to a paradigm helps no one.
Our future is a Choose-your-own-adventure – a theme that you’ll notice running through this edition. There are many paths (and just as many diversions) we can take on the road to a fair, equitable and prosperous future. In this Special Edition, AQ deconstructs our current economic situation and lays out a range of possible paths for consideration.
Whether it’s evolving the misappropriated idea of ‘well-being’, or completely turning our growth-obsessed models on their head, this edition offers incremental, as well as radical, possibilities from some of Australia’s most respected thinkers on social and economic theory.
We ask why loving ‘stuff’ is good for the planet; and why Australia’s energy policy is a microcosm for how the broader economy can work smarter; all this, and much more, inside.
None of these articles claim to be a manifesto for the future, but just like a Choose-your-ownAdventure, the solution will zig-zag between many potential options on its way to a conclusion.
As such, we hope this important edition continues to drive the debate over what our country (and indeed the world) should be doing to prepare and position our societies for the next age of economic development.
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