A WORD

AQ: Australian Quarterly - - A WORD - Grant Mills Ed­i­tor-at-large

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.

Read it, share it, join the con­ver­sa­tion! You can nd AQ on Face­book (@Aqaus­tralian­quar­terly) and Twit­ter (@Aqjour­nal)

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