Faster, better, meaner: understanding poverty and globalisation in contemporary Australia
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This thesis asks the question: What is the relationship between poverty and globalisation in modern Australia? It is framed by an understanding of globalisation as one of the important and contentious legacies of the twentieth centuries. While an acceleration in the processes of globalisation may be responsible for unprecedented economic growth, at the same time. the divide between the "haves" and "have-nots" of society has widened to such an extent that, in Australia, we now have an underclass of approximately two million people. With poverty resurfacing as a major social issue in an era of comparative prosperity and low unemployment, many critics and theorists are questioning the ethics and practices associated with globalisation. Consisting of exegesis, "Have-Nots," and a novel, Deviations from the Perfect State, this thesis examines the nexus between poverty and globalisation and how the phenomena interact in modern Australia.Central to this research is an understanding of globalisation as a contemporary phase in the neoliberal model of capitalism, the development of which is not necessarily linear or representative of a single condition. Rather, globalisation can be best conceptualised as an interconnected network of concurrent transformation processes operating at many social, political and economic levels. If these processes have definable impacts all around the world, to view globalisation as global consolidation or integration is misleading. Although it is a global phenomenon, by reason of such factors as its complexity, its effects are highly differentiated, and this uneveness has fostered growing inequality between, and within, nation states. While inequality does not necessarily equate to poverty - though it can signal the phenomenon - there is evidence to suggest that, in its current nondemocratic form, globalisation will continue to affect people in different situations in different ways, at an alarming and ever increasing rate.This matter of uneven social outcomes is one of the principal focal points of the thesis, which argues that neoliberal-style globalisation perpetuates and/or generates poverty within Australian communities. The exegesis contends that this is evident via an examination of several related issues: the historical and socio-political circumstances under which poverty and globalisation have evolved; competing definitions of poverty and globalisation; and the debate in Australia colloquially known as the 'poverty wars." Drawing on these and other related issues for its central themes and considerations, the accompanying novel offers a fictional context through which to view the arguments and findings discussed in the research component of the thesis. The mutually informing research methods of the exegesis and the novel are intended to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between poverty and globalisation, and the importance of equality, effective democracy and sustainable development as a means to justice for all Australians.
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