Bruce Smith, Edward Shann, W K Hancock: the economic critique of democracy in Australia
This paper argues that there were a number of writers in Australia from the late 1880s to the early 1930s who developed what is best described as an economic critique of the workings of democracy. The three writers considered by this paper, Bruce Smith, Edward Shann and W.K. Hancock, all developed critiques of Australian democracy along similar lines. The central feature of their argument was that Australian majoritarian democracy was making poor policy decisions because it attempted to override the laws of economics in the name of the popular will and ethics. They seemed to have believed that this problem would only be resolved once Australia possessed a mature and economically literate population.
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