NUMBER 11 AUTUMN / WINTER 2003

EDITORIAL: Bush’s political agenda – enforcing global hegemony by military force and cutting taxes for his backers – relies on Western Europe and China accepting US dollars for their trade surpluses. The US will be unable to maintain its global dominance if these countries insist on payment in euros or yuan – a likely reaction to Bush’s imperialism.

AILEEN KEATING writes that Iraq was the great prize of C20th imperialism until the discovery of vast oil deposits in Saudi Arabia in 1938. Despite Bush’s promise to create an independent democracy in Iraq, the earlier British example – an Iraqi administration with the prime role of implementing British strategic interests – is the more likely course.

GEOFFREY BARKER explores the security and economic risks associated with regional dysfunctional democracies that confront Australia in its own ‘arc of instability’.

TESSA MORRIS-SUZUKI uses Woomera to show how globalisation is not just a horizontal spread of the market economy but also a social deepening of the market. This involves an ongoing relationship in which the financial connections between public and private, and the division of responsibility for social outcomes become incomprehensible to citizens.

FRED ARGY analyses five of the possible explanations for the big retreat from egalitarianism in Australia and finds them unconvincing. Argy says that governments which claim globalisation ties them economically are conning voters.

JOHN M. LEGGE argues that globalisation is about making all countries conform to the neo-conservative values inherent in the Washington Consensus. This is morally repugnant to those brought up in the European (or Australian) tradition, and it doesn’t work – except for America which can hide its inherent inefficiency behind a flood of dollars.

BRIAN ELLIS sees different attitudes to property underlying the growing differences between Europe and America about the global order – for Americans their history tells them that land was there for the taking and ownership conferred unfettered rights, whereas the Europeans see ownership as part of an inheritance to be conserved for future generations.

MARTY BRANAGAN says the arts play a vital role in non violent activism, pointing to their prominent role in the February 2003 peace marches where the media focused on the puppets of Bush and Howard, the imaginative banners and the musicians and singers who led marches and played free concerts afterwards.

JENNIFER BORRELL argues that value-free research in the social sciences is not only impossible, it is undesirable. Research into increasing government dependence on gambling revenue to fund government services hides behind neoliberal values linked with consumer choice, in order to avoid dealing with the fact that the gambling tax is regressive for both individuals and communities.

CHRISTOPHER SHEIL says there is no shared interest in Public Private Partnerships. The government remains solely responsible for the public interest, the private partners are acting purely for their own private interest and the term ‘partnership’ allows PPP advocates to blur the fact that the policy is privatisation by another name.

PAUL MEES describes how the role of urban planners as shapers of the city acting in the public interest has degenerated into planners as experts-for-hire, providing ‘objective’ evidence in support of their paying clients (usually developers) preferred propositions.

CHARLES LIVINGSTONE & GREG FORD explain that the Commonwealth has used costly measures to drive consumers into more administratively expensive private health funds. The money forgone could have paid for an additional 1.5 million cases in public hospitals each year. Because private health funds contribute only $4 billion a year (9%) of recurrent health expenditure, an exodus from the private funds would not be a significant problem and would lead to an overall improvement in the equity and efficiency of the health system.

AURIOL WEIGOLD argues that Australia’s relationships with Indonesia and other countries in the region remain sound, despite the stresses imposed by Australia’s role in East Timor, the Bali bombing and anti-terrorist raids on the homes of Asian Muslims. She contends that most of the tension related to the perception of Australia as the ‘odd man out’ in Asia has been a media ‘beat-up’


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