Author(s): Damien Cahill
Since the 1980s, waves of neoliberal 'economic reform' have transformed Australia.
Privatisation, deregulation, marketisation and the contracting out of government services: for three decades now, there has been widespread agreement among policymakers on the desirability of these strategies. But the benefits of economic reform are increasingly being questioned. Alongside growing voter disenchantment, new voices of dissent argue that instead of efficiency and improved services, economic reform has led to unaccountable oligopolies, increased prices, reduced productivity and degradation of the public good.
In Wrong Way, Australia's leading economists and public intellectuals do a cost-benefit analysis of economic reform across key areas. Have these reforms been worthwhile for the Australian community and its economy? Have they given us a better society, as promised?
'Has privatisation led to more productivity-enhancing competition? Has deregulation increased economic welfare in energy, finance, health, education and labour markets? Does the lived experience of Australians measure up to the promise of economic reform? The authors answer these questions with conclusions that are both compelling and disturbing.'----Emeritus professor Roy Green, University of Technology Sydney