After my post noting that ‘progressive’ think-tank Per Capita hadn’t published any research in their first year, they did put out this paper on employment services. But their output is still modest, and I wondered whether with so many other job opportunities for left-leaning people Per Capita was having trouble recruiting staff to do their work.
Despite Per Capita’s slow start, the idea that think-tanks might be a useful vehicle for the left persists (rather than an alternative theory that the right uses them because they don’t have other institutional backing like universities and unions). According to a report in The Age
LEFT-wing unions are funding a new think tank, Catalyst Australia, as they aim to counter the influence of such right-wing rivals as the Institute of Public Affairs.
Catalyst Australia’s executive director, Jo-anne Schofield, said the group aimed to engage in the work-life balance debate and to challenge current thinking on economics.
With financial backing from cave-dwelling unions like the CFMEU and the MUA we can be confident there will be little of the fresh thinking promised by Per Capita. Their name has already been taken by a corporate teambuilding outfit. And I think think-tanks can generally make their most useful contribution early in the issue cycle, rather than issues that have already been around for years like work-life balance. But we will see.