NUMBER 39 SPRING 2012

Dissent
                      Issue 39 - Spring 2012

Editorial: Editorial: Far from running a balanced budget in the face of the threat of a ‘double dip’ global recession, the Gillard government should take advantage of its Triple A credit rating and low official interest rates to finance a range of urgent investments in water, renewable energy and rail to ameliorate the impact of global warming on Australia.

Ian McAuley looks at the deeper problems facing the federal ALP – exemplified by the fact that Labor’s trend primary vote has declined steadily from 50% during the 1940s to 40% by 2010. This is due to its failure to articulate a clear alternative to the Coalition whose self-confidence, justified on not, is built on a constant primary vote with no discernable trend away from 47% over the same period.

Harry Glasbeek argues that it matters who holds a controlling interest in large public companies because it affects our economy and our politics so it makes sense that controlling shareholders be held responsible for corporate behaviour.

John M. Legge reviews economic books written by John Quiggin (Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Work Amongst Us) and Steve Keen (Debunking Economics: The naked Emperor dethroned?) and argues that the authors have refuted the main assumptions of neo-classical economics, but the ideas survive because they serve the interests of the very rich.

Doug Cocks agrees with Ian Lowe’s attack on the arguments for a large population (Bigger or Better?: Australia’s Population Debate) and contends that the enquiry set up by Prime Minister Gillard to hose down the hostility to continued high levels of immigration produced a masterpiece of glossy spin.

Clive A. Marks traces how humans have gone from endangered species to global pest in a short space of time and examines why our tribal ways make it extremely difficult for us to act collectively in the interests of global ecosystems.

Catherine Lomas discusses The righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion by Jonathon Haidt. On the basis of psychological research into moral reasoning Haidt claims to have discovered why parties to the left have seen a dramatic decline in support since 1980.

Trevor Cobbold looks at the latest threat to government schools by the Liberal party floating the idea of introducing means-tested fees, justified by the need to reduce middle-class welfare.

Max Wallace reviews Contempt of Court: Unofficial Voices from the DOGS High Court Case 1981 which shows how the High Court allowed s.116 of the Constitution to be undermined in order to allow state aid for church schools.

Chris Fotinopoulos looks at how the chaplaincy program is being used as a backdoor method of Christian proselytising in government schools.

Tony Lynch & Bert Jenkins reflect on two kinds of peace making – peace-keeping and peace-building.

Kelvin Rowley further examines the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) which qualifies the principle of national sovereignty as it applied to Libya and he questions whether it provides a successful model for a Syrian intervention.

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 dissentmagazine@dissent.com.au

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