This month, Black Inc. is delighted to launch a new imprint: Redbacks – Books with Bite. Redbacks are short books on big issues by leading Australian writers and thinkers.
The series launched with Battlers and Billionaires: The Story of Inequality in Australia, by Andrew Leigh, and Why We Argue About Climate Change, by Eric Knight.
Here, Andrew Leigh and Eric Knight talk about Australian politicians, the mining boom and Australia’s economy, and why their new books have bite.
1. The Redback series is about short books with bite – with a focus on the big issues in politics across Australia. What is the most biting idea in your book?
The notion that inequality falls as well as rises. In fact, my 91-year-old grandfather, Roly Stebbins, has seen inequality fall for most of his life. Australia can increase prosperity without increasing the gap between rich and poor.
My biting idea is that freedom is the real reason why we argue about climate change. It is not the science or a sense of moral duty to one's children, even though that is the superficial sense in which the argument is framed. Francis Fukuyama once argued that we faced the end of history where ideas like economic freedom and liberal democracy were settled. I argue in this book that these issues have just resurfaced in more complex, wicked forms.