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Some Good News! An article by the Canadian historian/sociologist John Ralston Saul was reprinted in the Australian Financial Review of 20 February 2004 . It is listed on their website as one of the most sought after articles in the recent past.

So it is official. The wild open-market theory that died in 1929 and was resurrected in the 1970s, despite its abject failure during the Great Depression, has run its course. Economics, not politics or arms has failed to determine the course of human events.

You are invited to peruse the full article at

The crucial question is: Where to from here? Back past the nineteenth century free market capitalism with free market in education to the private and  profiteering and religious aggrandisement at taxpayers expense or, forward to a reassertion of the public good at public expense.

Ralston Saul's analysis of the collapse of most of the liberal ideologues of the 1970s when they were under attack from the new right is instructive for those fighting for public education in the new millennium.  We quote:

" Globalisation materialised in the 1970s from the sort of geopolitical vacuum or fog that appears whenever a civilisation begins to change direction, to grope its way around a corner from one era to another.

In geopolitics, a vacuum is not an option. It is the period between options; and opportunity, providing you can recognise it for what it is; a brief interregnum during which individuals can maximise their influence on the direction of their civilisation.

What caused that particular void? Perhaps a quarter century of social reform had left the liberal elites exhausted. The need to manage a multitude of enormous new social programs that had been put in place in a democratic manner - an ad hoc manner - made it difficult for political leaders to concentrate on the main line; that is to concentrate on a broad sense of the pubic good. Instead, governments were caught up in the endless and directionless details of management. Or perhaps the cause of the vacuum was the resulting reliance of those political elites on technocrats, who understood little of the debate - in fact, distrusted it - and so drew the leaders into isolation.

In either case, most Western leaders seemed confused about what to do next. They had come to the end of a chapter of social progress. And they could not have been less prepared for a religious counterattack upon their ethical motivations, particularly not one in which the classic Judeo-Christian ideas of the sacred had been converted into economic inevitabilities.

These theoretically new economic ideas were not scarcely recognisable as the simplistic economic arguments of pre-1929. The religious fervour had been blended with sparkling waves of new technology and with masses of microeconomic data, all presented as fact. Relaunched in this way, as three in one, one in three, the old ideas seems new.

Caught up as the liberal elites were in the instrumental rationality of program management, they responded to this attack with superior, stolid and unimaginative rejection. Instead of speaking out for the public good, they defended administrative structures. The effect was to make tired and discredited market arguments seem young, agile and modern."

DOGS wish to point out that since 1964 we have been unwavering in our commitment to the liberal ideal of the public good. We have been prepared to take on the New Right, alongside the old opponents of the public good and basic democratic institutions and processes- the promoters of   private, sectarian good - the private Church School Interest.

And we have done this in spite of the so-called liberals like Labor Party politicians with their "Needs and Invitation to Greeds" policies and academics and bureaucrats who sank into the mire of  "process" , "co-operation" and "collaboration".

They did this because they were not prepared to be labelled "sectarian" take on the Church School interest.

It is to be hoped that the genuine believers in the public good do not let this opportunity pass, but for the sake of our children and our children's children fight for the cornerstone of our liberal democracy - the public school system.








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Last modified:Wednesday, 10 August 2005