How Labour Built Neoliberalism

How Labour Built Neoliberalism : Australia's Accord, the Labour Movement and the Neoliberal Project

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Why do we always assume it was the New Right that was at the centre of constructing neoliberalism? How might corporatism have advanced neoliberalism? And, more controversially, were the trade unions only victims of neoliberal change, or did they play a more contradictory role? In How Labour Built Neoliberalism, Elizabeth Humphrys examines the role of the Labour Party and trade unions in constructing neoliberalism in Australia, and the implications of this for understanding neoliberalism's global advance. These questions are central to understanding the present condition of the labour movement and its prospects for the future.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 268 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 17.78mm | 385.55g
  • Chicago, United States
  • English
  • 1642590681
  • 9781642590685
  • 154,500

Table of contents


List of Illustrations

List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction

1 The ALP & ACTU Accord

2 The Social Contract's Gala Dinner

3 Neoliberalism's Corporatist Origins

4 A Hegemonic Political Project

5 Corporatist &' involucro'

6 A Note on Method

7 Structure of the Book

2 Theorising the State-Civil Society Relationship

1 Introduction

1.1 Some Preliminary Comments

2 Marx's Critique of Hegel

3 From Critique of Politics to Critique of Political Economy

4 From Marx to Gramsci

4.1 Lo stato integrale

5 Gramsci contra Marx? The Limits of Integration

6 Conclusion

3 Corporatism in Australia

1 Introduction

2 Understanding Corporatism

3 Panitch's Approach

4 Corporatism and the Accord

5 The Context of Arbitration

6 Conclusion

4 Destabilising the Dominant Narrative

1 Introduction

1.1 Conceptual Diversity

2 The Dominant Narrative

2.1 Harvey: A Brief History of Neoliberalism

2.2 Klein: The Shock Doctrine

2.3 Peck, Theodore, Tickell and Brenner: &'Neoliberalisation'

2.4 Destabilising the Dominant Narrative

3 A Class Approach to Neoliberalism

3.1 Harvey: &'The restoration of class power'

3.2 Davidson: &'An entirely new political regime'

3.3 A Hegemonic Political Project

4 Conclusion

5 Periodising Neoliberalism

1 Introduction

2 Periodising Neoliberalism in Australia

3 Proto-neoliberal stage: 1973-1983

3.1 The Economic Crisis

3.2 The Whitlam Government

3.3 The Fraser Government

4 Vanguard Neoliberal Stage: 1983-1993

4.1 The Impasse of the 1970s

4.2 Developing the Accord

5 Piecemeal Neoliberalisation Stage: 1993-2008

5.1 Howard's Piecemeal Neoliberalism

6 Crisis stage: 2008 Onwards

7 Conclusion

6 The Disorganisation of Labour

1 Introduction

2 The Accord Agreement

3 Wages and the Accord

3.1 The First Accord (1983)

3.2 Accord Mark II (1985-1987)

3.3 Accord Mark III (1986-1987)

3.4 Accord Mark IV (1988-1989), V (1989-1990) & VI (1990-1993)

3.5 Accord Mark VII (1993) & VIII (Draft Only)

4 Wage Suppression

4.1 Labour Disorganisation

5 Conclusion

7 An Integral State

1 Introduction

2 Accord Divergences

2.1 The National Economic Summit and Communique

2.2 Prices

2.3 &'Big bang' and Other Neoliberal Reforms

2.4 Trade Liberalisation

3 Privatisation

4 Social Wage and Contested Understandings

4.1 Medicare

4.2 Superannuation

4.3 Worth the Cost?

5 The Concord of Neoliberalism and the Accord

5.1 A Brace against Neoliberalism?

5.2 Theorising the Corporatism-Neoliberalism Connection

5.3 An &'informal Accord'?

5.4 The Accord as involucro

6 Conclusion

8 How Labour Made Neoliberalism

1 Introduction

2 From Worker Agency to State Agency

2.1 The Shift to Support the Accord

2.2 Planning as a Solution to Crisis?

2.3 Consultation on, and Support for, the Accord

2.4 Sticking with the Accord

2.5 Industry policy and Australia Reconstructed

3 Managing Dissent and Disorganising Labour

3.1 Civil Legal Action against Labour Disputes

3.2 Deregistration of the Builders Labourers' Federation

3.3 Pilots' Dispute

4 Enterprise Bargaining and the Antinomies of the Accord

4.1 Hegemony Unravelling

5 Conclusion

9 A Return to the International

1 Introduction

2 A Brief Detour in the Antipodes

3 The British Social Contract (1974-1979)

4 The Carter Administration (1977-1981) and Prior

5 New York City Council Fiscal Crisis (1975-1981)

6 Contemporary Finland

7 Conclusion

10 Conclusion: Neoliberalism at Dusk

1 Internal Relations

2 Antinomies and Residues

3 Neoliberalism at Dusk


Appendix B: Timeline of Predecessors to the AMWU


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Review quote

`Humphry's brilliant How Labour Built Neoliberalism utterly transforms our understanding of modern Australian politics and compels us to rethink established ideas about the role of the trade union movement in the making of neoliberalism. I consider this to be a landmark work in Australian political sociology and an invaluable contribution to the literature on global neoliberalism.`
-Melinda Cooper, University of Sydney, Author of Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism(2017, Zone Books).

`In this fascinating book, Elizabeth Humphrys challenges the narrative that neo-liberalism was generally imposed onto labour by right-wing governments such as the Thatcher government in the UK and the Reagan government in the US during the 1980s. Through a detailed analysis of the Australian political economy between 1983 and 1996, she demonstrates how restructuring was also carried out by a Labour Party in close co-operation with trade unions.

Written in a beautiful and highly accessible prose, she makes clear that trade unions are not automatically progressive or reactionary. Ultimately, trade unions too are sites of class struggle, which decides on whether a particular trade union is a force for social justice or not. Humphrys' book is a must-read in guiding our explorations of this question and the search for alternative, progressive strategies.`

- Andreas Bieler, Professor of Political Economy, University of Nottingham, UK

`This is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the emergence of neoliberalism in Australia, or the contradictory role trade unions can play during an economic crisis.`

-Alfredo Saad-Filho, Professor of Political Economy, SOAS, University of London
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About Elizabeth Humphrys

Elizabeth Humphrys is a political economist at the University of Technology Sydney. She has published on trade union and social movement responses to crisis, including in Globalizations and Critical Sociology. She completed her Ph.D. (2016) at the University of Sydney.
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Rating details

26 ratings
4.19 out of 5 stars
5 31% (8)
4 65% (17)
3 0% (0)
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1 4% (1)
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