Have Australians become more conservative?

Interesting debate at John Quiggin on whether the election revealed a rightward shift by Australian voters. Left-inclined posters keen to deny this, but the evidence seems irrefutable. Consider two key issues: immigration and greenhouse policy. Conservatives have long been anxious about the decline of Anglo-Australia particularly since the 1970s when non-Anglo immigrants became assertive and […]

The Craiglist controversy

The United States has flourishing sex industry which is nominally illegal except in Nevada. But Nevada itself is hardly a libertarian utopia the system of legalized brothels imposes exceptionally high levels of control over their employees. The current controversy about ‘adult services’ on Craigslist has raised these issues.

Capitalist confidence and electability from Lang to Rudd and Obama

The recent debate about the Resources Super Profits Tax revives an old argument about whether or not capitalists have a veto power over governments due to the alleged linkage between business investment, economic activity and the likelihood of re-election. Critics of capitalism once favoured this argument (and conservatives opposed it) but now with the demise […]

Socialism within capitalism?

To look over the landscape of socialism is to be persuaded that again and again that Marx was the socialist thinker who had something enduring to say, non-Marxist socialism is fated to merge into liberalism, and if we were looking to political guidance Leonard Hobhouse probably more offers more than the Webbs.

Reasons to be cheerful

Some valuable words from Brad de Long: If all goes well in China and India in the next generation—and if nothing goes catastrophically wrong in the rich post-industrial North Atlantic core of the global economy—then the next generation will see a real milestone. For the first time ever more than half of the world will […]

Global futures

Gallup migration

In teaching Australian Identities: Indigenous & Multicultural I include some big picture speculation about the future. I draw on Jeffrey Williamson’s 2003 Noel Butlin lecture on world factor migrations and demographic transitions. Williamson describes how 19th century migration was driven by the desire of the young to escape European overpopulation and poverty for the much […]

Wall Street vs. Main Street Democrats?

Although buried in marking doing some work on my paper on American liberalism and capitalist development based on my recent Sydney presentation to a symposium on social democratic governments and business. One aspect is the relation between the Democrats and business and the question of ‘corporate liberalism’ apparent in current debates about financial regulation.  We […]

Oliver Williamson and American liberalism

Lecturing recently in Modern Political Ideologies I observed that classical liberalism are not entirely incompatible, classical liberals were concerned about workers’ subordination in the production process and about the rise of corporate capitalism. Currently rereading Oliver Williamson’s The Economic Institutions of Capitalism, doubly appropriate because of his recent Nobel Prize in economics. An interesting milestone […]

Business history and socialist history

Working on the relation between government and business in the United States. As part of this reread Alfred Chandler’s exceptional Strategy and Structure and The Visible Hand. One interesting point is that although the 1930s are a time when theories of ‘monopoly capitalism’ gain major following and Gramsci develops the concept of ‘Fordism’, it is […]

Tugan-Barnovsky and China

Discussion of the Chinese economy often centers on the idea that Chinese economic growth is fundamentally unbalanced due to low levels of domestic consumption and a reliance on exports. Yet China seems to have weathered the global financial crisis particularly well. Zacharay Karabell: China’s path, of course, is hardly without skeptics. The common argument against […]