EDITORIAL: Examines the myth that that the Arbitration system is a drag on the economy. The myth is based on the false belief that relative wages are, or should be, settled by the market. In fact they are settled by political processes, buttressed by propaganda masquerading as settled economic theory supported by empirical research.

GEOFFREY BARKER reflects on the globalisation of political spin as a technique to mislead, manage and manipulate the electorate and how this is undermining the culture of liberal democracy.

DIRK BALTZLY describes the danger inherent in the use of deception as an instrument of foreign policy because it is likely to mutate into self-deception – as occurred in Vietnam and looks set to happen in Iraq.

DENIS KENNY sees the ‘war on terror’ and the occupation of Iraq as a replay of the colonial wars of the 20th century and suggests they will have to end in the same way – through negotiation.

EVAN WHITTON argues the US is ruled by oligarchs who retain power by keeping the electorate constantly alarmed and yearning to be led to safety – the latest hobgoblin being terrorism, presented to Bush by Osama bin Laden.

JOHN M. LEGGE shows how the failure of postwar Anglo-Saxon economists to develop a realistic theory of economic growth helps explain poor public policy and destructive business practices which have resulted in Australia’s growing environmental and balance of payments deficits.

JOHN BURTON, head of the Foreign affairs Department from 1947 to 1951, reflects on how real democracy has been hollowed out by the traditional party system which hides behind adversarial party politics while it serves the same upper middle class and financial interests. He outlines reforms which might allow democracy to re-emerge.

KEVIN MORGAN shows how the simple minded competition policy developed by the Hawke/Keating government undermined the network’s development and how Telstra’s management, by trying to increase the share value to promote the government’s full privatisation policy, continues to run down to the network.

SUE ELDERTON reviews the role of public broadcasters in English speaking countries, their long term future and the implications for liberal society in the face of increasing government neglect and the impact of interactive technologies.

CHRISTOPHER LLOYD argues AUSFTA is a vehicle for institutional integration of Australia into the US on terms which happen to suit the social and political agenda of the Howard Government.

L. ELAINE MILLER suggests that multiculturalism is compatible with a national identity which is in a constant state of flux but is nonetheless firmly fixed in abstract civic values.

BARBARA PRESTON shows how the school funding model adopted by the Howard Government for the current quadrennium will magnify educational inequality and further restrict educational ‘choice’ for students from low income families.

SID SPINDLER argues that despite the failure of ATSIC to advance the aboriginal cause or win the support of the major political parties, serious policies designed to improve opportunities for aboriginal Australians will still require policies based on affirmative action.

MICK DODSON discusses the Community Development Employment Program and argues that it can be judged a success if it is seen as a welfare program rather than an employment program.

NOTE FOR EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: For permission to reprint articles, or for interviews, contact Kenneth Davidson or Lesley Vick on tel/fax 03 9347 7839 or email

D!SSENT is published 3 times a year, is available on subscription and is on sale nationally at newsagents and major bookshops.