Paul, Erik: Violence in Australia

Paul, Erik

The political economy of violence in Australia‘, Journal of Political Economy, 63, Winter 2009, pp. 82-101

Considers the economic, cultural and political aspects of violence, in particular, its connections with the nature of capitalism. Specific issues addressed include the links between violence and power relations within society, victimisation (particularly of women, children and Indigenous Australians), workplace accidents, the destruction of the environment, self-destructive behaviour (leading to obesity and alcohol abuse), crime (violent, corporate, organised), mental disorders linked to alienation, and, finally, violence perpetrated by the state through incarceration, corruption, connivance in race crime, and military interventions overseas.

The article then attempts to link these examples of violence to the structure of contemporary capitalism. Among other sources, the author quotes Robert Dahl about the corporate dominance of political power and Herbert Marcuse about methods of social control. He presents international comparisons, noting, for example, that Australia has higher levels of victimisation and more inequality than some Northern European countries.

To reduce the level of violence in Australia requires more equality and egalitarian policies to reduce the income and wealth gaps. More equality requires income redistribution by way of tax reforms to fund larger public expenditures on public goods, such as transport, housing, health and free education. More resources need to be invested in constructing a friendlier physical and social environment for children and women.


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