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Foundation Arena Articles: John Hinkson

Four articles by John Hinkson and a reply by Boris Frankel, from Arena issues spanning 1982 – 1992: ‘Beyond Imagination? Responding to Nuclear War’, ‘Post-Lyotard: A Critique of the Information Society’, ‘Misreading the Deeper Current: The Limits of Economic Rationality’, ‘A Postmodern Market Society?’ (Frankel), and ‘Ships in the Night: A Reply to Boris Frankel’

Beyond Imagination? Responding to Nuclear War

From Arena issue 60, 1982. PDF, 1.2 MB.

Towards the end of 1980 Arena sponsored a conference on nuclear war. The context of the conference was a new disarmament movement in Europe which had arisen in response to the threat posed by new tensions between the super-powers. In this talk I will be drawing on two of the many themes which emerged at the conference…

Post-Lyotard: A Critique of the Information Society

From Arena issue 80, 1987. PDF, 1.1 MB.

… Lyotard, whose work is the focus of this article, seeks to give an account of post-modernism which situates it historically.

Lyotard sometimes conceives of the post-modern a moment within the modern, but by and large he employs it to refer to quite basic changes which mark us off from the modern era. For him, the modern was characterized by emancipatory perspectives and strategies, whether liberal or socialist, wherein emancipation was assumed and only the subject of progress was in contention: was the individual or the working class to be emancipated? Viewed in this context, post-modernism is referring to profound changes which bring the emancipatory frame itself into contention…

Misreading the Deeper Current: The Limits of Economic Rationality

From Arena issue 98, 1992. PDF, 3.1 MB.

The timing of John Hewson’s Liberal strategy for a ‘new’ Australia is impeccable. Those policies which worked so well for the Hawke-Keating Government since 1983 are now visibly falling apart. The economy which seemed to work miracles in the 1980s, especially in the creation of jobs, is so battered that commentators now speak openly of a depression. Unemployment is at levels which have no comparison except with the 1930s depression, and the Australian public is deeply disaffected. What better circumstances could a politician with a vision hope for? …

 A Postmodern Market Society? A reply to John Hinkson by Boris Frankel

From Arena issue 99/100, 1992. PDF, 0.3 MB.

In Arena 98, John Hinkson wrote a stimulating and valuable analysis of the crisis in contemporary Australia. Discussing the causes of the current depression and the socio-economic implications of Keating’s ‘One Nation’ and Hewson’s ‘Fightback’, Hinkson linked all these issues to the emergence of a new stage in Australian history – the development of a postmodern market. Although I agree with a number of the important points in Hinkson’s analysis of the contemporary crisis, the key issue is whether Australia now has a new ‘postmodern’ political economy…

Ships in the Night: A Reply to Boris Frankel

From Arena issue 99/100, 1992. PDF, 0.3 MB.

During a recent discussion at the Arena Centre where Boris and I outlined contrasting accounts of the nature of the economy today, someone commented: ‘This discussion troubles me because I can agree with both of you!’ While I am not about to agree with what Boris has argues in his comment on my article, it is fruitful to reflect on the reasons for this apparent paradox. How could two papers which were saying such different things be taken up in a way which seemed to allow agreement with both? …

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