Inequality – and innovation – should be front and centre in today’s Australia: new book from Andrew Leigh MP and Joshua Gans

‘The fundamental issue’, according to Nicholas Stuart in the Canberra Times, ‘is that the economic and social problems Labor was formed to combat back in 1891 are no longer relevant’. This is, of course, nonsense if we are talking about inequality of income, wealth and other good things. Inequality is growing, just as the economy is growing.

Honest History for a few years ran Inequality in Australia as a ‘special subject’, collecting links to useful material and posting posts. We stopped doing so, partly because report after report showed that inequality was a problem, even an increasing problem, in today’s Australia, but, after each report, the political caravan seemed to move on, and politicians reminded us that we were enjoying our 25th or 26th or 27th year of economic growth. Which only went to show how imperfect an indicator of well-being was GDP, or even GDP per head. While some of us were doing very well, thank you, others were suffering.

Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Labor member for Fenner in the ACT, has written lots on inequality: 2017 speech; 2016 lecture; collected items 2007-15. His (and co-author Joshua Gans’) linkage to innovation adds to the list of policy prescriptions in this 2015 effort.

Yesterday in Melbourne, Dr Leigh launched his new book, co-authored with Gans, Innovation + Equality: How to Create a Future that is More Star Trek than Terminator. The book comes at inequality from a different angle, arguing for policies that create equality along with innovation. Looks like a stimulating read. There is another launch in Sydney later in the week.

David Stephens

19 November 2019

Innovation + Equality

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