Studying Communism

Students at Deakin in interested in wars, Australia and the Two World Wars is a popular subject, they are fascinated by Nazis as well so The Holocaust is a popular subject. Would students would be interested in the history of communism?  There are the recent books by Archie Brown and Robert Service and also the […]

Republicans resurgent

Noteworthy that in the last few weeks liberal commentators, such as Mathew Yglesias and Jonathon Chait,  have begun to seriously contemplate the possibility, even the likelihood of the Republicans securing a House of Representatives majority this year. Some of this commentary has been in response to the recent analysis of Harry Joe who has argued […]

Wilson, Obama & FDR

Some worrying early signs for the Democrats this year. Polls have shown tightening of the race for the January 19 special election in Massachusetts to elect a replacement for Ted Kennedy. A Democratic loss in this reliably blue state would be a huge fillip to Republican morale. The tightening race in large part reflects the […]

Religious conservatism and religious freedom

Recently in Australia we have seen Christian conservatives (they claim support for those of other faiths but little evidence of this) argue that extension of anti discrimination laws to cover employment decisions is a threat to religious freedom. Worth remembering that this is for employment in organizations such as schools and welfare services very largely […]

Liberals and ‘liberalism’ from 1984 to 2009

With the Liberals in opposition debate has raged as to the party’s future direction. The debate is often phrased as one of ‘liberals’ vs. ‘conservatives’. Tony Abbott’s recent book, which I still have to read, has been hailed as an intervention on the conservative side and Senator George Brandis has set himself up as the […]

Will the Republicans listen to Jeb Bush?

Recent comments of Jeb Bush confirmed by today’s American elections. Virginia and New Jersey Democratic defeats no great surprise, moderate republicans can win elections in Democratic or swing states, just as moderate to conservative Democrats can win in Republican states. New York mayoral election almost a major surprise but its a Democratic city. New York […]

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 […]

Republicans resurgent?

Political surprises are usually not really surprises but are usually anticipated by disregarded observers. It is interesting that the suggestion that the Democrats could lose the 2010 Congressional elections is beginning to be cited as a possibility by Democratic commentators such as Ed Kilgore. I am inclined to agree with Brendan Nyhan that the negative […]

American distrust of government?

Geoffrey Garrett neglects the importance of history and institutions when he compares the fortunes of Obama and Rudd: In a country of drought and flooding rains, sunburnt Australians care deeply about climate change, and they want their representatives to do something about it. But in the land of the free and the home of the […]