Arguing for Equality. "Inequality in Australia" by Alastair Greig, Frank Lewins and Kevin White and "Australia's Welfare Wars: The Players, the Politics and the Ideologues" by Philip Mendes. [review]
While these books are particularly valuable as textbooks, and as introductions to the most important debates in their fields, they also bring their readers to a kind of threshold, beyond which we must strive to reach. In part because they are textbooks, they describe but cannot resolve some key difficulties in our thinking and writing about inequality, poverty and welfare. For instance, each points out that careful studies of the victims of class, gender and racial inequalities — or of inadequate welfare policies — are not matched by studies of those who produce, maintain and defend those inequalities or those policies. In terms of inequality’s perpetration and perpetuation, we need to know more about who benefits. There is yet another inquiry into poverty. All well and good, perhaps, but what might be even better is an inquiry into wealth.