Richard Downing: Economics, Advocacy and Social Reform in Australia
Richard 'Dick' Downing (1915-1975) was an influential and intriguing figure in Australian public life. In addition to his professional standing, many people will remember the high regard in which ordinary Australians held him. Today, such esteem for a public figure, let alone an economist, seems barely credible.
Like H. C. 'Nugget' Coombs, Downing was one of the generation of capable young men whom World War II catapulted into positions of prominence. He was Professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne for twenty-one years, the highly respected if controversial Chairman of the ABC from 1973 until his untimely death, and a prominent advocate for a wide range of social policy reforms frorn the 1950s to the 1970s.
In this biography of Downing, Nicholas Brown is particularly interested to examine his rich and complex contributions to public debate in Australia. Downing's interests ranged widely, from economics to the arts and education, and their expression has much to tell us about Australian politics and society. Readers will find many revealing insights into the discussion and formation of public policy during the post-war decades, and into a particular style of Australian liberalism. The story of Richard Downing's life will fascinate readers, and its telling illuminates many aspects of contemporary Australian history.
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academic areas argued August Australian Basic Wage Brian Downing Brown Cambridge Canberra challenge College commitment Committee Commonwealth context Coombs Copland culture David Bensusan-Butt debate discussion Dorian Le Gallienne Downing to Arndt Downing's early econ economic policy Economic Record economists Eltham example Firth full employment Gallienne Giblin H. C. Coombs Henderson Higgins housing increasing increasingly industrial inflation Institute interest Interview investment issues Kalecki Karmel Keynes Keynesian Labour lecture living ment Menzies Minister national income notes Nugget Coombs October omic organisation Ormond Ormond College Papers pension perhaps Peter Karmel political post-war poverty pressures R. I. Downing Reconstruction Reddaway redistribution reform responsibility Review Ritchie Chair role Scotch Scotch College secure seemed sense social conscience social welfare society survey Sydney taxation theory tralian Trevor Swan University of Melbourne wartime Whitlam