Tony Abbott’s obituary for Melbourne intellectual Ronald Conway. I was impressed with Conway’s books The Great Australian Stupor and The Land of the Long Weekend when I read them in the mid-1980s. Looking at them again last night, I am still impressed with the range of reference and the synthesis of psychology, sociology, history and politics. But the psychological framework, especially drawing on Freud, seems dated. Still, the books had great titles, which should help preserve Conway’s place in our intellectual history.
The Productivity Commission has released its draft report on parallel importation of books. I have not read it all. Main point I had not previously thought of: that many of the benefits from the existing rules flow overseas, because foreign authors can extract higher prices from the Australian market than otherwise. Main recommendation: that publishers still be protected from parallel importation, but only for 12 months. As most of the profits from a new release will be made in the first 12 months, this looks to be largely a win for the publishers.
Still at the Productivity Commission, an inquiry into the contribution of the not-for-profit sector. It sounds reasonably benign, but I am suspicious. The trend is for civil society is to co-opted or coerced into serving the state.
Sinclair Davidson uses the latest tax statistics to continue his series of analyses showing that during the Howard years the Australian state was increasingly funded by the top 25% of income earners.