David Throsby

A survey conducted in the UK in 2017 asked people whether they trusted the opinions of a variety of experts, such as doctors, scientists, and nutritionists. Economists came second last in a big field, beaten to the bottom only by politicians. How can it be that practitioners of an academic discipline that traces its intellectual history back at least 250 years have sunk so low in popular esteem? It seems that the blame rests not with economists themselves, most of whom are honest and well-intentioned individuals whose main handicap, at least among the males of the species, is their legendary boringness and appalling taste in ties.

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When members of the rock band Men at Work recorded their legendary hit ‘Down Under’ in the early 1980s, they wanted to inject a stronger sense of Australianness into the song, so they included a flute riff of a few bars echoing the classic Australian children’s chorus ‘Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree’, just as one might, in a different geographical con ...

The cover design for this book features a painting by Indigenous artist Johnny Bulun Bulun. It is an appropriate choice, given that it was this artist who in 1988 spearheaded the first major action in an Australian court against the unauthorised reproduction of Aboriginal works for commercial purposes, and in so doing set a precedent in establishing the existence of copyright in Aboriginal art. The case concerned the use of works of art on T-shirts. It was followed by one against the Reserve Bank of Australia, which had reproduced an Aboriginal image on the bicentennial $10 note without permission, and the famous ‘carpets case’ against a company that imported carpets made in Vietnam that contained some well-known Aboriginal artworks in their design.

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