This book, first published in 2002, explores the relation between economic liberalism and social policy in Australia. How do social policies operate in a fiercely individualist market economy, and if the market is expected to provide solutions to social problems, what role ought the government take to ensure that it does so? Why is it that quality of life in Australia has diminished as the economy has undergone sustained growth? These are just a few of the key questions Peter Saunders asks in this thoroughly researched book. Saunders draws upon the most up-to-date research, and particularly national surveys conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre. What the book does very well is cover the key trends in economic and social policy over the past 25 years, showing how economic liberalism, despite all positive economic indicators, has contributed to an increase in unemployment, inequality, social dysfunction and alienation.
• A rigorous examination of how the economic and social achievements of recent decades have affected well-being • An attempt to examine these issues using data on community attitudes to change, well-being and policy • Written in a straightforward style that is accessible to a wide audience without avoiding the underlying complexities
1. Introduction: the paradox of affluence; 2. Has the economy delivered; 3. Legitimacy of the welfare state; 4. Employment and unemployment; 5. Income and living standards; 6. Poverty and exclusion; 7. Inequality; 8. Welfare reform; 9. The changing welfare policy context.