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Thoughts on the 2019 Australian Election

There's a fine line between analysing something and simply complaining about it. I hope that the following, which was penned in a rush the day after the election, doesn't veer too much into the latter.

With the re-election of the Liberal government now sinking in, we are hearing the oft-repeated but perhaps not entirely comprehended observation that Australia is in fact a deeply conservative country. This fact has never been intuitively obvious for me, because I’m from and live in the most progressive part of the country. My family, education, workplace and the bulk of my acquaintances reflect a tacit left-wing consensus on social and political issues. Australia being conservative is something I understand only in an abstract, intellectual sense. The reaction a lot of people in my area are having to the 2019 election is reminiscent of the wealthy socialite’s reaction to George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election: how could he have been elected, I don’t know anyone who voted for him! I…
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What is the liberal temperament? The case of Alan Wolfe

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Maybe just a little bit obsessed...

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But luckily he hasn’t been completely off the radar, giving this keynote speaker address at a Canadian college in the beginning of October and in the process dropping the real reason for his absence from his blog (he's writing a book on climate change): 

It’s only been viewed about a hundred times, and the one comment amusingly notes that Heath is a much better writer than a speaker. It is true that Heath talks a lot like a highly enthusiastic IT service officer, and he did drop the interesting biographical detail that he was interested in AI design when he was still in his “anarchist phase”. (This certainly e…

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It's been possible for me over the years to extract many great ideas, insights, observations, facts and general information from books that nonetheless had dull, forgettable and even disagreeable passages. As an example, recently I’ve been reading quite a bit about the welfare-state capitalist model favoured by social democratic parties in the twentieth century. While there’s a lot of great stuff in these books – stuff that allows me to call myself a social democrat with some understanding of what that means – I can’t sa…

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Why read political economy?

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‘Boring through’ is an apt description of my recent effort in completing Politics, Economics and Welfare by Robert Dahl and Charles Lindblom, published originally in 1953. Considered a classic upon arrival, it is five hundred and fifty-seven pages of more than I ever wanted to know about union bargaining, details of the command-and-control economy during wartime, the virtues and vices of the price system as a coordinating mechanism and a whole lot on marginal costs.
What made reading the book to the end worthwhile is the same for what makes reading all (ideologically inoffensive) books on political economy worthwhile, which I hope to elaborate briefly below.

Political economy I believe represents the peak of how …