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The Experience of Middle Australia

The Experience of Middle Australia
The Dark Side of Economic Reform


  • Date Published: July 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521658447

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About the Authors
  • This book puts middle Australia under the microscope, examining how quality of life is faring in the face of change and uncertainty. 400 Australians from around the country shared their experiences of work, family, and community for this book, creating a striking picture of Australian society into a new millennium. This lived experience is set against hard data so that we can truly understand the impact - good and bad - of economic restructuring on the broad Australian middle class. Meticulously researched, it mounts a moral and intellectual counter-argument to economic reform. A sequel to the best-selling Economic Rationalism in Canberra, Michael Pusey's book will be equally important.

    • Meticulously researched, this book is designed to be controversial, provocative and accessible
    • The book comes garlanded with praise from leading social commentators in Australia, United States and the UK
    • Author's previous book on economic rationalism created and led a major public debate for several years; this book is destined to have similar impact
    • The author gets inside how average middle Australians feel about the rapid changes in their lives brought about by economic reform
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Commentators talk about Middle Australia. In this humane and scholarly book, Michael Pusey talks with Middle Australians instead, to find out what they think is happening to their world. The result is fascinating. One of the most important contributions to Australian self-understanding of recent years.' Robert Manne

    'If the doctrine that 'markets know best' is an empirical thesis, not merely fundamentalist dogma, then a variety of questions at onc arise The great value of this book is that it poses some of the most important of these: in particular, the crucial question of 'how people experience the economy'. The answers are instructive, in some respects chilling, and should become a central component of public debate on the radical reconstruction of Australian society that has been imposed on the basis of principles that are far from self-justifying.' Noam Chomsky

    'We should applaud Michael Pusey for reminding us that our proper study is not the bottom line but the way we live and relate with each other, and that the quest for constant growth ignores the need for harmony and balance in the finite world that we inhabit.' Elizabeth Evatt

    'Middle Australia is stretched, anxious, angry. Michael Pusey is its champion. This is moral sociology at its best.' Peter Beilharz

    'Ten years ago Michael Pusey's research told us how we were landed with 'market rule' without much chance to vote about it. Now in a fair sample of middle Australia he has found a landslide majority for a fairer, fully employed, less unequal and more sustainable economy than small government has ever given us. Hugh Stretton

    'Pusey's provocative and important book is a challenge to contemporary orthodoxies. Society, he warns, will bite back if we choose to build our civilisation solely around the concern of business to operate with as little constraint as possible. He deserves to be read - and heeded.' Will Hutton

    'Michael Pusey's new book on The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform makes extensive use of social science methods … to explore the consequences of the changes brought about by the 'economic rationalisers' … This is a hugely worthwhile book.' Francis G. Castle, University of Edinburgh

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521658447
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: economic reform
    1. Incomes and meanings
    2. Jobs work and fairness … In the wake of Labour market reform
    3. Working families: struggling with the costs of reform
    4. Civil societies and communities
    5. Politics, power and institutions
    6. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Michael Pusey, University of New South Wales, Sydney
    Michael Pusey was educated in England, France, Australia and the United States, where he took his doctorate at Harvard. He is the author of the best-selling Economic Rationalism in Canberra and is presently Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of New South Wales.

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