Gough Whitlam’s Vision of Social Democracy
Gough Whitlam's Vision of Social Democracy: Parliament and Party
Perspectives vol 12
The twelfth in the Perpsectives series , Gough Whitlam’s Vision of Social Democracy: Parliament and Party authored by The Honourable Dr. Barry Jones AC – teacher; lawyer; television and radio performer; long-serving politician in the Victorian and Federal Parliaments; and lifelong friend of Gough Whitlam.
“[Whitlam] was uncomfortable with the current definition of humans as homo economicus, whose primary purpose is shopping and consumption, customers, producers, seen purely in an economic context. Education, health, the life of the mind are all seen as commodities and the environment as an area to exploit. All values can be measured in dollars – if they can’t be quantified, they have no value” Jones writes.
A passionate plea for political leadership which has the gumption, intellectual power and persistence to “shatter old beliefs, look towards transcendent possibility and tell a story to be proud of”, this paper takes us on a political expedition spanning several decades from the Whitlam years to the present.
In Barry Jones’ inimitable style, the paper explores the international shift away from Social Democracy in the late 1970s through the modern ‘growth as consumption’ economic mindset that has resulted in intense individualism, and a collapse of socially and environmentally attuned policy-making.