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Author:  Alex Carey

Publisher/Date:  Communications and the Media in Australia, E. L. Wheelwright and K. D. Buckley (editors), Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1987 pp. 156-179

Title:  The Ideological Management Industry

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Digital transcription by agitprop_mainman_2002

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas: i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.

-- Karl Marx, The German Ideology (1846) as cited in The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, New York: Norton, 1972, p. 136

This chapter is about the modern development of techniques for the ideological management of liberal societies in order to preserve the interests of capitalist elites. More specifically, it is about the introduction to Australia of techniques for taking the political risk out of democracy (from the point of view of protagonists of the market economy) that have long been developed, refined and applied in the US and — more recently and to a much lesser extent — in the UK. Virtually nothing in these developments is indigenous to Australia. A considerable sample of them has already been imported direct from the United States (commonly retaining the name of the model US institution, as in the cases of the Committee for Economic Development, the Business Roundtable, the Business Council and the Foundation for Economic Education). To a lesser extent American techniques have reached Australia via Britain, as in the case of Enterprise Australia’s promotion of the free-enterprise system through special annual reports for employees and courses in ‘economic education’ designed for corporate employees and schoolchildren. 1

At another, intellectually more sophisticated level, there is in prospect a growth of ‘think-tanks’ funded by business with the purpose of ‘...shaping the political agenda in Australia’ (to cite a report on the subject to the Australian Institute of Directors) through production and dissemination of free-market-oriented ‘...policy research’. 2 The inspiration for this development comes from the relatively favourable conditions for the political influence of business which have been created by such initiatives in the US. 3 There the amount of economic policy research produced by think-tanks funded by corporations is so great and so effectively ‘marketed’ that business has been able, through its hundreds of selectively sponsored scholars, largely to redefine the terms of debate on many issues in ways favourable to business. For example, by transforming ‘...quality of life’ issues into esoteric ‘...cost-benefit analysis’ issues. 4 At present the relatively limited Australian progress in this direction is supplemented by importing and distributing publications resulting from business-sponsored policy research in the US and the UK.

This double transfer to Australia of American techniques of political control — pervasive popular proselytising on behalf of the free market, and business-sponsored dominance of related policy research — is still at an early stage. It is not evident that such transfers have yet reached the point where they have substantial political importance, although Bob Hawke’s public endorsement of Enterprise Australia’s proselytising activities deserves notice, as does the coincidence of significant elements of Labor’s current economic policies with Enterprise Australia’s widely advocated preferences. Nonetheless the institutional basis for the long-term expansion of Enterprise Australia’s popular proselytising has been established, and the slow process of accustoming the Australian community to the existence and pervasive intrusions of its mind-managing techniques in such areas as schools, colleges, universities, radio and TV, on behalf of free enterprise, has already begun. 5

Developments in business-funded policy research have, until recently, been less systematic. However, 1980 saw the establishment of the Business Roundtable, which comprised the top executives of Australia’s largest companies (Twenty Nine Largest Corporations). 6

It was modelled on a powerful American organisation of the same name which has, in the course of its endeavours ‘ control the national legislative agenda’, established an astonishing record of success in gaining adoption of its preferred policies by Congress. 7 The Australian Business Roundtable’s policy research interests surfaced briefly in December 1980, when it put a proposal to the Industrial Relations Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, for expenditure of $500000 on an inquiry into corporate executives’ views and preferences with respect to industrial-relations institutions, Jaws and policies. This project met public-relations problems and its sponsorship passed to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

CEDA, which is also modelled on its American namesake, is probably still the most important source of business sponsored economic policy research in Australia. CEDA published, in 1980, a full-scale inquiry into the problems and prospects of transferring to Australia ‘lessons’ that may be drawn from the successful development and effective political use of business-sponsored policy-research organisations in the United States. 8 In 1984 CEDA established a ‘Strategic Issues Forum’ which will commission ‘...task forces’ to conduct longer-term policy research and ‘...produce reports on chosen topics’. These reports are intended to culminate in a ‘Bicentennial Book’ on Australia’s future development. The first such report published by the forum is a comprehensive survey of groups and organisations conducting ‘...economic policy research’ in Australia. 9 In 1985 CEDA aimed to publish the results of its inquiry into corporate managements’ views and preferences with respect to industrial relations policy that it took over from the Business Roundtable. 10

The American background

Two developments are now appearing in Australia: large-scale funding by business of popular proselytizing, and the financing and distribution of economic policy research supporting a free-market philosophy. These have produced catastrophic results for American democracy. If we are to recognise the possible significance of these new techniques of political control for Australian society, it is altogether necessary to obtain some systematic acquaintance with the history and consequences of their use in the US. For these reasons I shall attempt some review of the American background before returning to contemporary Australian developments.

Popular economic proselytising in the US. American corporate capitalism has, since shortly after the turn of the century, directly intervened with vast, popular proselytising programs on behalf of its values and institutions, whenever and wherever popular sentiment was judged to be taking uncongenial forms. 11 These programs have had much of the temper of secular Billy Graham crusades, though with a greater reach and pervasiveness. The first among them was the pre-World War 1 Americanisation program.

The ‘...movement to Americanise the immigrant’ (or ‘crusade’ as it was commonly described), though ostensibly concerned altruistically to prepare millions of European migrants for American citizenship, was in fact principally stimulated by business’ fear of radicalism, and especially fear of the influence of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) among the unorganised and abused foreign textile workers of Massachusetts. 12 For a decade, almost up to America’s entry into World War 1, the program, though national in scope, was funded and organised by American business with minimal government support (though such support was strenuously sought). However, shortly before American entry into the war, business was able successfully to link its Americanisation program with the cultivation-now claimed essential for national security-of an unqualified patriotism among the foreign-born. 13

The Americanisation program thereafter both obtained public funds and, by its self-serving play on the subversive threat constituted by the incompletely Americanised, contributed to an increasing popular suspicion of any departure in ideas or behaviour from the most conservative of American traditions. This development, with large help from President Wilson and his attorney-general, culminated in 1920 in a ‘McCarthy’ period even more severe, if briefer, than occurred after World War 11. 14

The original Americanisation program was used by American business to deal with inadequate commitment to the values of laissez fare capitalism, and to anathematise such inadequate commitment as ‘un-Americanised’ or ‘unAmerican’. Whenever, from World War 1 to the 1970s, American business has detected serious indications of popular ideological ‘backsliding’, it has met the problem by adopting precisely the formula of the Americanisation crusade, though with one major difference. The original Americanisation program was applied to alien migrants only. Later ‘reAmericanisation’ programs have been applied to the entire population, native-born as well as foreign.

The first such program occurred in the 1920s. The vast network of privately owned light and power utilities were in trouble with the public and felt their freedom of operation under consequent threat from increased regulation and even nationalisation. They responded by launching a campaign which explicitly employed the techniques and organisation developed for the Wilson administration during World War 1, to disseminate patriotic persuasion to every part of American society, from kindergartens to universities, and from farmers’ organisations to women’s clubs. 15 The utilities’ similarly pervasive program of popular persuasion, beginning in 1919, was exposed in 1929-30 by marathon public investigations, and its purposes suffered some (but temporary) setback in consequence, but it set a model for later developments.

A 33-volume report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the utilities’ propaganda activities during the 1920s concluded: ‘...No campaign approaching it in magnitude has ever been conducted, except possibly by governments in wartime. 16 As later described by Karl Schriftgeisser, the utilities ‘...flooded every possible outlet of public information. Newspapers, magazines, lecture platforms, forums, service organisations, civic societies, schools and colleges...’ 17 Much campaign material was rabid and suggested that all those who advocated public ownership were communists. 18 Nonetheless, Schriftgeisser observes that the success of the ‘...utility propaganda all over the country’ was such ‘...that many a schoolboy of that period still remembers that it was considered all but subversive even to intimate in a civics or history class that the utilities were not the greatest benefactors of mankind since history’s dawn’. 19 Responses by the director of the utilities’ campaign to a Congressional committee illustrate the pervasiveness of the propaganda: ‘...Will you agree that... almost everybody in the country, beginning with the eighth grade and going up from that, including young and old, are reached before you get through?... We reach almost everybody who can be reached... allowing for the people who do not read or appear in any club or gathering’. 20

After Roosevelt’s election in 1932, the NAM warned that present public opinion must be reshaped ‘...if we are to avoid disaster’, and reorganised itself to undertake that task. 21 By 1935 the NAM president could report to a meeting of business leaders, ‘...You will note especially that this is not a hit or miss programme. It is skilfully integrated so as to gradually blanket every media... and then... that it pounds its message home with relentless determination’. 22 In 1938 the NAM’s board of directors still found ‘...the hazard facing industrialists’ to be ‘...the newly realized political power of the masses’. ‘...Unless their thinking is directed . . .’ it warned, ‘...we are definitely headed for adversity.’ 23 The following year (1939) a vast congressional investigation reported that ‘...the NAM has blanketed the country with propaganda’; and, in particular, that ‘ speeches, public meetings, advertising, motion pictures and many other artifices of propaganda have not, in most instances, disclosed ... their origin within the Association’. 24

Immediately after World War 11 American business expanded and intensified the prewar program. The object of the program was now frankly described by the president of the NAM as ‘ sell-to resell, if you will’ the American economic system to the American people. 25 This new campaign caught up the New Deal liberal intellectuals more effectively; they had long been acknowledged by the NAM and other defenders of business as the real enemy. A McCarthyist period began in 1948. 26 By 1953, with Eisenhower established in the White House, the widely recognised political objectives of business’ long campaign were largely achieved. 27

For more than a decade after McCarthy, American public opinion remained sufficiently conservative to require little attention from business. However, from 1958, Vietnam and then Watergate brought a collapse in popular regard for American institutions generally and for American business in particular. 28 Following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 a new re-Americanisation program, now called ‘economic education’, was started by one of the world’s largest advertising agencies, Comptons, the Advertising Council and the US Department of Commerce. 29

In 1977 Fortune reported the ‘...Ad Council Campaign is a study in gigantism, saturating the media and reaching practically everyone’. 30 By 1978 business was spending, according to expert testimony before a congressional inquiry, $1,000 million per annum on direct efforts to influence public opinion at the ‘...grass roots’ level alone, excluding thinktanks and policy research. 31

In July 1978 the New York Times reported: ‘...There is little doubt that the present upsurge in conservative thinking owes much to a newly aggressive attitude by American business... [G]rowth of government regulation and an apparent lack of public confidence in business [has led] a growing number of companies to finance sympathetic policy research and economic education aimed at defending the free market system...’ 32 By 1980 the Advertising Council’s massively detailed polls showed ‘...the proportion of Americans who think there is too much government regulation has risen from 42% ... to 60%'. 33 By November 1980 some four or five years of re-Americanisation had almost returned the US to the nineteenth century. There had been, between 1976 and 1980, a ‘watershed’ reversal of public opinion, which astonished even the leading pollsters of big business and carried Ronald Reagan to the White House. Once again democracy was safe for American business. 34

The Australian connection

In 1979 Mr Bart Cummins, who is a top executive of both Comptons and the Advertising Council, and claims principal credit for starting the 1975-80 ‘economic education’ campaign, toured Australia under Enterprise Australia’s auspices ‘ explain details of the Advertising Council’s campaign to community leaders and leaders in the communications industry ... [and] to explore how to bring together the organizations that would need to work in cooperation to adapt the programme to Australia...’ 35 With much illustrative material Mr Cummins explained how to do it to meetings of businessmen in every mainland state, and offered his assistance. ‘...As Enterprise Australia has been telling you,’ he affirmed, ‘’ve got to persuade the electorate that they’ve got a great system ... the greatest system the world has ever known. In short you’ve got to educate the Australian people about your economic system.’ 36 Long before this the US business concept of ‘economic education’ had been proposed by Walter Scott (later Sir Walter).

In 1950 Scott was the first Australian to make a study of the combination of public-opinion monitoring and corrective ‘economic education’ employed by US business and to propose that Australian business follow American practice. 37 Scott refers in this connection to the American Economic Foundation (AEF), whose economic education activities would be taken as a model 25 years later when Scott’s proposals at last gained serious support from Australian corporations. The AEF specialised in creating materials for use in business’ propaganda campaigns, for example slogans, pictures, posters, cartoons, free enterprise ‘...commercials’ for radio (and later, TV), canned editorials, leaflets and booklets for use in schools. By 1975 it was also communicating its ‘ enterprise messages to millions of people’. 38

Scott believed that, in 1950, although many organisations in Australia were enjoying unprecedented prosperity, the system of free enterprise was at risk because of popular dissatisfaction with it. ‘...Private enterprise,’ he warned, ‘...cannot survive without public support... but the public can survive without private enterprise.’ ‘...Propaganda is the order of the day,’ Scott concluded. ‘...If Management desires to reestablish itself in the faith of the general public ... it has to use the methods that will reach the public...’ 39 His book was apparently written before the Australian Labor Party lost government in December 1949. Once Menzies was at the helm, and exploiting anticommunism to great effect, Australian business no doubt felt sufficiently secure and Scott’s pleas fell on deaf ears. Little was heard during the next twenty years of conservative rule, about the public’s misunderstanding of business or about the need for reformative economic education campaigns.

Indeed, silence on this front was broken only by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). The IPA is the oldest Australian organisation created solely to conduct popular proselytising on behalf of free enterprise. It was established ‘ a group of prominent businessmen’ in direct response to the ‘...overwhelming victory of the Labor Party in the Federal election in 1943’. ‘...The central purpose of the new body,’ the IPA later confirmed, ‘...was to resist the trend to socialism’ which the 1943 elections were taken to confirm. As in the US before McCarthyism, it was ‘...especially in intellectual circles’ that the drift towards socialism was believed by businessmen to have occurred. 40

In 1955 the secretary of the IPA was sent to the US to study business’ economic-education programs. His report attempted to convey some idea of the ‘...vast sums’ spent on the American operation and its vast scale: General Motors produced more booklets as part of its ‘...economic-education’ program for employees than it produced automobiles; the US Chamber of Commerce produced a ‘...colour cartoon film’ which had been seen by more than 60 million people and conducted a ‘Business-Education Day’ annually on which 300000 teachers had been given in-plant acquaintance with the free-enterprise viewpoint; Sears Roebuck spent a million dollars on a film about ‘...the economic facts of life’ which was shown, in work time, to its 200,000 employees. 41

The IPA concluded that the ‘...main lesson’ to be learned from the various methods of disseminating ‘...economic education’ that have been ‘...tried and tested overseas’ was that individual companies in Australia must do ‘...far more to promote ... free enterprise’ by providing economic education for their own employees. However, an active interest in economic education for the masses did not develop until the political climate became unfavourable to business, foreshadowing the end, in November 1972, of a period 23 years long of conservative rule. (A detailed account of the rapid expansion of ‘...economic education’ after 1972, on which the following summary is substantially based, has been given elsewhere.) 42

The Australian Chamber of Commerce (ACC) was the first into the field. In April 1972 it began detailed planning for a ‘...programme to promote free enterprise’ (more formally described as a ‘...three years Economic Education Campaign'). As first steps the chamber conducted a national survey of school leavers’ attitudes to various aspects of the freeenterprise system (for example profits, prices, competition) and an essay competition for school children on the same general topic. These projects were used as a basis for deciding what corrective material to prepare for ‘...circulation through the schools’. 43

Two further economic education campaigns followed, each of three years’ duration. The total cost in financial contributions by corporations (as distinct from contributions in kind) was about $500 000. In all, some fifteen videos and films were completed or in production (some in conjunction with IPA) on topics ranging from ‘Profits’ to ‘The Market Economy’ and ‘Advertising’. With the agreement of departments of education, all this material was included in teaching resources centres and made available to schools throughout Australia.

The first three ‘...economic education’ campaigns concluded in 1981. The ACC decided the program should be continued, but with ‘ projects, a new format, and a new name’. Though now known as the ‘...Understanding Business’ campaign, the overall program was maintained and its fundamental aim, ‘ secure a wider public appreciation of the Australian market economy’, was unchanged. 44

In 1976 the * director of the chamber’s Economic Education campaign produced a review of business-sponsored economic education in Australia which was published by CEDA. The report identifies eight bodies as most active in the field. Four of these represented specific industry groups: the Australian Bankers Association, the Australian Financial Conference, the Life Officers Association of Australia, and the Australian Mining Industrial Council. All of these had ‘...comprehensive educational programmes currently in hand’ which ‘...carry a free enterprise message... to secondary schools and colleges across Australia’. They ‘...make their presence felt’, the report observes, ‘...through a wide range of printed and audio visual materials’.

The other four bodies found to be most active in economic education promoted ‘...the free enterprise system generally’. They were the Australian Industries Development Association (since merged with the Roundtable to form the Business Council), the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham), CEDA and IPA. All of these were similarly active both in schools and elsewhere. However, only the IPA provided any quantitative measure of its activities, and then for schools only. IPA claimed in 1976 that 50000 copies of its monthly pamphlet ‘Facts’ and 15 000 copies of its quarterly IPA Review were used in more than 1200 high schools throughout Australia. 45 Elsewhere IPA was reported to be ‘...channelling hundreds of thousands of copies of publications to employees through firms; 46 and AmCham claimed to have ‘...carried the business story to more than 20000 students in hundreds of high schools across the country’. 47

Probably the most important development in enlarging the business effort to monitor and manage public opinion, occurred in 1975 with the establishment of the Australian Free Enterprise Association Ltd. Funded by donations of $35000 each from CIG, Esso, Kodak and United Permanent and (a little later) from Ford Motors and IBM, 48 the formation of the association was a direct response (as its prospectus reveals) to the ‘...threats to free enterprise’ constituted by ‘...recent events’, namely the election of the Whitlam Labor government.

The association planned to launch ‘Enterprise Australia’ in December 1975 with the purpose of assisting and coordinating other proselytisers ‘ the development of a national programme of public education’ which would use ‘...all the means of communication ... skilfully and professionally ... in the free enterprise cause’. 49 However, in deference to other events of November 1975, the launching was delayed until April 1976.

Geoff Allen, subsequently director of AIDA and then of the Business Council (both major business organisations) described Enterprise Australia as resulting from initiatives by IPA and ex-Liberal minister Sir Allan Fairhall. Allen expected EA to be ‘ far the most important group in the propaganda warfare for capitalism’. While waiting for the delayed launching of EA, its new chief executive, Jack Keavney, spent his time ‘...looking at similar organizations overseas’. 50

Of the organisations he visited overseas, Keavney appears to have been most impressed by the American Economic Foundation, which gave him ‘...a great welcome and every assistance’. ‘...We owe much of what we have done to Americans,’ he acknowledged five years later on a return visit to the AEF in New York, ‘...and especially to this organization.’ 51

In August 1976 Enterprise Australia brought a director of AEF, Mr John Q. Jennings, to Australia. Jennings is an expert in ‘...employee communication’ and especially in the production of ‘...annual reports for employees’ which make clear how little surplus is left after wages and other costs are paid. His most famous achievement is to have used employee communications to produce a dramatic conservative shift in opinion among employees of the large English engineering firm Guest, Keen and Nettlefold (GKN), a shift, that is, against nationalisation and towards the company’s view. 52 Under EA’s auspices, Jennings met Prime Minister Fraser and the Minister for Industrial Relations. Both thereafter publicly endorsed ‘...use of the Jennings formula’. EA subsequently reported that between 200 and 300 Australian companies were producing employee reports ‘...similar’ to the Jennings model! 53

Jennings was the first of a long series of conservative economists, trade union leaders and expert ‘...communicators’ that EA has imported, obtained media coverage for, and toured around a national circuit of business forums and conferences.

On the mass-media front there was also progress. By 1979 EA had been instrumental in the production of a series of twelve half-hour TV films ('Making it Together') on the general theme that what helps business helps everyone. This series was broadcast in all States and a further series was in production. 54 EA had also secured some million dollars of free radio time per annum. Every day more than 100 radio stations broadcast free-enterprise ‘...commercials'-which, as EA explained, ‘...relate that free enterprise benefits the entire community’. 55

By 1978 EA had set the goal of obtaining, from (tax deductible) corporate donations, an annual budget of $2.5 million. 56 Moreover there was little sign of resistance to EA’s advance. The NSW Department of Education-where resistance might have been expected-had agreed to cooperate with EA on production of the ‘Australianized’ version of GKN’s economic education program. 57

Overall there was, it appeared, significant progress towards realisation of the brave new world foreshadowed by Sir Robert Crichton-Brown, president of the Institute of Directors. As an inducement to his fellow directors to give generously in support of Enterprise Australia, Sir Robert had described a utopian vision of the permanent pacification of the ideological restlessness that characterises democracy until the opinion managers get at it:

[The Institute] needs to publicize and sell the benefits of the system it espouses. This can be done by cooperation with and support of such bodies as Enterprise Australia...

We must be constantly vigilant in countering moves to wreck the present private enterprise system. There are threats to it from many sources, and we cannot relax until these threats have been removed. That will be when we have convinced society at large that our influence is indeed for its good... [T]hat ... will take up some of your time and some of the corporate system’s money. The expenditure of both will be well worth while if it succeeds in obtaining for the corporate system society’s seal of approval, thus relieving our successors of the need to spend their resources ... on further promotion of the systems. 58

Teachers, schools and children. In 1981 EA appointed a full-time director of its Schools and Colleges Programme (Ted Hook) and in 1982 took over distribution of a school textbook entitled The World of Business. 59 Based on a Canadian text of the same name, the book had been compiled by Hook under a contract funded by various business corporations and the Queensland Confederation of Industry. 60 In 1982, EA took over Young Achievement Australia (YAA) which had been introduced to Australian schools in 1978 by the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia as an adaptation of an American program called Junior Achievement. Under American auspices YAA had not flourished. 61 After being taken under EA’s umbrella in 1982, YAA involved 1400 high-school students in four States. 62

In 1983 the ‘Australianised’ economic education program ‘Work and Wealth’ was made available to secondary schools Australia-wide through the good offices of departments of education. Also in 1983 a board game called ‘Poleconomy’, which had been produced under EA’s auspices on the ground that it improves understanding of the free-enterprise system, was successfully marketed and 100000 sets were sold.

Universities, CAEs and TAFEs. In 1981 EA appointed a full-time director of its Universities Programme (John Warr) and Jack Keavney addressed formal meetings of university staff on the merits of the free-enterprise system. In 1983 Monash University ‘...employ[ed] a full time officer, with special educational duties which included encouraging schools to use Enterprise Australia materials’. 63 A business executive-in-residence program was begun (at Monash) under which senior business executives spent up to a week explaining the merits of the free-enterprise system to formal meetings of staff and students. In 1984, twelve universities accepted arrangements of this kind.

Employees. In 1981 Bob Hawke presented the awards to New South Wales companies in the competition, sponsored by EA, for the best annual reports to employees. Andrew Peacock performed a like service in Victoria. In 1982 EA appointed a full-time director of its Employee Communications Programme; and the economic education program ‘Work and Wealth’ was made available to corporations for use with their employees.

General public. The million dollars per annum of free-enterprise slogans was continued. In 1981 a second series of twelve half-hour programs on industry ('Making It Together') was broadcast by 40 TV stations. In 1983 production of 30second TV spots was begun. In 1984 the value of free radio spots donated by 136 radio stations was increased to $5 million; that is, to approximately 136000 30-second spots per annum. The topic of the spots was changed to stress the individual employee’s responsibility for making the economic system work (by increasing output, quality, and hence-it is argued-jobs). Under the rubric ‘Australia for Quality Campaign’, the new radio onslaught was launched on 2 April 1984, with a three-minute speech by Prime Minister Bob Hawke which was broadcast by all 136 commercial radio stations.

Policy research in Australia and overseas connections. In an address to the Institute of Directors in 1983, Les Hollings, editor of the Australian, noted the relatively undeveloped level of business’ agenda setting role in Australia: ‘...In the United States,’ Hollings observed, ‘...there are a number of public policy research institutions that are funded by business and do a good job in promoting the system we all believe in. There are some of these types of institutes in Britain. But you do virtually nothing here in a serious way.’ 64

Greater intervention by corporate interests in the American educational system to check the growth of values opposed to freemarket conservatism had influential supporters from the late 1960s. Lewis F. Powell was (until his elevation to the Supreme Court in 1972) an early and influential advocate of the view that business should wholly restrict its financial support to educational and research centres of an adequately conservative temper. Some major foundations and institutes in the US are regarded by free-marketeers as more or less subversively left-wing. The Ford Foundation-the largest-is in this category, as is the Brookings Institute. Another group is regarded with particular favour; it includes the Hoover and Hudson Institutes, the Conference Board (an adjunct of the NAM), The Heritage Foundation and the American Economic Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) — now the most influential of all business-sponsored organisations specialising in economic-policy research.

William Simon, secretary of the US Treasury, 1973-77, was one of the leaders of the campaign to reshape the political agenda that has led to the dominance of the neo-conservative movement in the USA. He claimed that the Carter Administration was becoming collectivist, that the regulatory agencies of ‘ economic police state’ were spreading ‘...terror’ among the corporations, and that the crisis of American democracy was due to the pervasive influence of un-American intellectuals. Major foundations such as the Ford Foundation had been ‘...taken over’ by the philosophical enemies of capitalism, people of egalitarian outlook; hence new foundations were necessary, funded by business on a large scale. Business support should be withdrawn from major universities which were ‘...churning out young collectivists by legions’. Similarly, media sympathetic to business should be supported, but advertising should be withdrawn from those who were not. 65

The budget of the American Economic Institute grew from under $1 million in 1970 to over $7 million in 1978; its staff grew from 24 to 125, plus 100 ‘...adjunct scholars working on AEI-sponsored studies’. In 1977 its ‘...vast outpouring of material and activities included 54 studies, 22 forums and conferences, 15 analyses of important legislative proposals, 7 journals and newsletters, a ready-made set of editorials sent regularly to 105 newspapers, public affairs programmes carried by more than 300 college libraries’. The following year Irving Kristol was cochairman of a new AEI drive to raise a $60 million endowment. 66 In 1980 AEI scholars included Hayek, Solzhenitzyn, and Mr Malcolm Fraser. AEI is only one, although among the largest, of many privately financed policy research centres in the US.

I spent 1977 in the US and could scarcely avoid observing that most university libraries I had occasion to use contained about a foot of index cards to publications by the AEI. Returning to Australia, I believed I had got some measure of AEI’s activities, substantially ahead of its influence reaching Australia. I was in consequence disconcerted to find on entering the library of the University of New South Wales that an entire foyer was occupied with a display of selected books from 250 titles which had been donated to the library by AEI. These donations established the University of New South Wales Library as an AEI Public Policy Research Centre. Four years later the donated titles had reached 400.

Despite this experience, I believe Hollings’ assessment — that compared to the USA, Australia does very little in the area of such public policy-research institutes — is a valid one. However, I do not think, as he implies, that this situation represents simply a cultural lag behind the northern hemisphere. I think it results in part from indigenous cultural characteristics that affect Australian businessmen as well as others: some measure of genuine egalitarian sentiment, and a consequent distaste for the corruption of democracy by massive regimenting of opinion, that the American style of opinion management constitutes; and a sharp discomfort with the scale of hypocrisy required to defend and maintain such developments in a formally democratic society. These comments are likely to arouse considerable scepticism. Nevertheless I am convinced that philosophical elitism does not yet have anything like the support in Australia, even among our elites, that it has in the US and the UK; and that this must be recognised and full advantage taken of it.

These Australian cultural circumstances do not, of course, mean that the new mind-managing developments will fail in Australia. But it does mean that they will depend peculiarly on channels of overseas influence for both their initiation and continuation; and that it will take some time to break down resistance even within the business community itself. An illustration of this may well be the fact that by 1981 there were over 40 Chairs of free enterprise, in the USA, established and financed by business in universities, for the explicit purpose of promoting and defending the free-enterprise system, for example the Goodyear Chair at Kent State and the University of Akron. 67 In Australia the first such proposal came from the National Party in Queensland in 1981, but negotiations so far have been unsuccessful. 68

The international connections are still growing. The chief executive of Enterprise Australia, Jack Keavney, made a number of visits during his tenure of office, to ‘...counterpart organisations’ overseas; these included NAM, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Roundtable. He noted that these were impressed with what EA was doing, especially in working with moderate unions; he rejoiced in the fact that Ralph Nader had called EA ‘...the most dangerous organisation’ he had come across in Australia. 69

An important British connection has been the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). Funded by corporations, directed by Lord Harris, it is the British equivalent of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, though on a smaller scale. Even so it has a remarkable record of subsidising and publishing free-market scholars, 70 and it is widely credited with significant contribution to the emergence of the Thatcher era. During a visit to Sydney in 1981 (under the auspices of the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) and Enterprise Australia) Milton Friedman claimed that IEA had been able to exercise ‘...a far greater influence than any of the much better known or more prestigious institutions of learning’. 71 IEA material is distributed in Australia by the Libertarian Review and CIS (among others).

Harris, like William Simon, blames liberal intellectuals for the problems of capitalism and also sees the remedy in business’ organising and funding large numbers of counter-intellectuals. ‘...A growing army of IEA economists in the broad classical liberal tradition have,’ Harris says, ‘...kept up their long range, long-term, scholarly bombardment of one enemy position after another.’ Harris distinguishes strategically the need for two levels of ideological offensive. He rejects the view, attributed to some businessmen, that ‘...all effort should be concentrated on simpler propaganda aimed “at the man in the street” ‘. This approach, he argues, is equivalent to supposing ‘...that ground troops could advance without support from the intellectual artillery to soften up the entrenched enemy strong points’. 72

The Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) appears to have led the growth here in corporatefunded economic-policy research. CEDA is modelled on its US counterpart, the Committee for Economic Development (CED), with which it maintains ‘...close and regular liaison and participation in joint international projects’ . 73 On a visit to CEDA in Australia David Rockefeller (Standard Oil and CED) observed that, ‘...organisations like CEDA’ are ‘...precisely the right approach’ to promoting private enterprise with less government regulation and control while at the same time protecting the public interest. 74

In the twenty years to 1984 CEDA has published ‘ enormous amount of material across a broad range of issues’. This material includes 23 ‘...major research projects’ on aspects of economic policy and over 300 lesser research projects and papers relevant to economic policy. 75 From 1976 to 1984, CEDA published (though it did not initiate) the only general review of corporate-sponsored ‘...economic education’ in Australia, 76 the only comprehensive review of bodies engaged in corporate-sponsored economic policy research in Australia, 77 and the only study of the much more significant political role of privately sponsored policy research in the US, with an explicit view to ‘...lessons’ that might be transferred in pursuit of a comparable development in Australia. 78

More recently CEDA has established a Strategies Issues Forum through which it appears to be in process of adopting a forwardplanning program similar to the Business Roundtable in the US. 79

The major CEDA study by Niland and Turner of corporate executives’ views about the Australian industrial-relations system and possible alterations to it is presumably also related to the Forum’s program. 80 This report largely constituted CEDA’s submission to the Hancock Committee’s review of industrial relations. 81

Four organisations, apart from CEDA, are more than incidentally concerned with broad promotion of conservative policies and ideology. These are the Business Council of Australia; the Centre for Independent Studies; the Australian Institute for Policy Studies; and Malcolm Fraser’s ‘Think-Tank’. 82

The Business Council was inaugurated in September 1983 from a merger of the Australian Industries Development Association (AIDA) and the (Australian) Business Roundtable. The council is by far the most important recent development in Australia of ‘...intellectual artillery’ in the two-front war of ideas towards which Australian business appears to be moving. The Australian Business Council, like its American namesake, is comprised of the chief executive officers of some 70 large Australian corporations.

It already displays all the hallmarks of American business-sponsored policy-research organisations. It was ‘...established to conduct research into public policy questions that affect business’ and to ‘...provide a forum for the chief executives of Australia’s major companies’. Through the Business Council, and on the basis of the council’s research on ‘...relevant issues’, its members will ‘...speak out to governments, unions and the community’. ‘...A key factor in the perceived effectiveness of the Business Council’s advocacy,’ the CEDA report advises, ‘...has been its publications’, such as its Bulletin which is distributed monthly to ‘...a wide audience of decision makers in politics, the bureaucracy, the media, academia and business’. 83

The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) is a Sydney-based body which publishes and promotes studies supporting a libertarian-laissez faire philosophy, 84 for example Professor Wolfgang Kasper’s recent book arguing for deregulation of foreign investment. 85 CIS also distributes literature from British and American laissez faire -sources. CIS was reported to have an annual budget of $250,000 in 1984 86 and $350,000 in 1985. 87

The Australian Institute for Policy Research was founded in 1983 and is headed by John Hyde, the leader of the Liberal Party ‘dries’ who had a weekly column in the Financial Review. Mr Fraser’s Think Tank was founded in 1984. It is described as a ‘...scaled down version of Mr. Fraser’s earlier hopes of establishing a research foundation along the lines of ... the American Enterprise Institute’ (to which, as already observed, Mr Fraser has since become officially attached). The Think-Tank’s membership includes Mr Hugh Morgan of Western Mining Corporation and Dame Leonie Kramer of the ANZ Bank. Even so it is not evident that the AIPR or Mr Fraser’s Think-Tank have yet achieved any substantial impact. 88

This review of corporate-sponsored activities directed to managing public opinion and the political agenda of the nation, has had to omit the following, for reasons of space:

1. Research conducted in universities, often in ‘centres’ or ‘institutes’, financed by corporations from particular sectors of industry, such as banking and finance, or mining.

2. Policy-oriented studies of Australian society by American institutes, or members from them, sometimes hosted by Australian academic institutions, for example the book Will She Be Right? The Future of Australia by Herman Kahn and Thomas Pepper. 89 Kahn and Pepper were both directors of the US Hudson Institute. The study was financed by fourteen large corporations in Australia, at least half of which were American or British transnationals.

3. The open use of the media by corporations to promote particular policies or ideologies, or what is called in the USA ‘...issue or advocacy advertising’ which has been prevalent there for a decade and has appeared in Australia in the last few years, for example regular advertisements by the Uranium Mining Council proclaiming the merits of nuclear energy.

4. Material provided for schools by sectoral corporate interests, such as the ‘educational service’ provided by the banks. 90

Despite these omissions, sufficient activities have been documented in enough detail to establish a broad perspective on the introduction to Australia of new methods of political control, and sometimes old methods on quite a new scale.


As this chapter neared completion, Hugh Morgan, managing director of Western Mining Corporation acknowledged, indeed, proclaimed with unconcealed satisfaction, that Australian corporations are in process of adopting the American methods for controlling public opinion. 91 Morgan makes specific reference in this connection to the provision of generous corporate funding to such bodies as the Centre for Independent Studies, the Institute for Policy Research and the IPA. Morgan affirms that the expansion of the work of these bodies relates to a decision by their corporate supporters ‘ change public opinion’ and thereby ‘...reshape the political agenda’ to a form that would delight the hearts of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. He is wholly confident that, given sufficient corporate backing for policy research and popular proselytising, such a radically conservative transformation of Australian politics can be achieved.

At least we owe our thanks to Morgan for the fact that this whole corporate program and its objectives are now official and public. It remains only to attempt some perspective on likely sources of resistance in Australian society to the accomplishment of Morgan’s vision and some consideration of how such resistance might be made most effective. I shall attempt such a perspective in two stages; one, resistance and vulnerability of a more general cultural kind; and two, of a more specific kind, associated with business, government, the media, schools, unions and universities.

The effectiveness of propaganda depends on the availability of emotionally charged symbols or ideas that can be manipulated by propagandists. In the western world the most powerful of such symbols have to do with nationalism: almost sacred [if also secular] symbols which affirm loyalty to a cherished (and idealised) ‘...way of life’; satanic symbols which signify subversion and ‘...threats to national security’. Manipulation of such symbols (words, ideas, images) is, of course, the indispensable basis of conservative political rhetoric and propaganda generally. The extraordinary power of such propaganda in the US is wholly dependent on the maintenance of popular ‘patriotic’ sentiments that are both intense and shallow; sentiments that are in consequence easily exploited by manipulation of sacred and satanic symbols relating to nationalism.

The relatively low level of ‘patriotic’ excitability, and relative scepticism towards inflated patriotic rhetoric, that has characterised Australian popular attitudes so far is an important barrier to early duplication of American techniques of public-opinion management here. 1 believe it is for this reason that EA’s plans to ‘Australianise’ an American booklet for similar distribution here never got off the ground. However, it is also for this reason, in my view, that so much effort has recently been given to creating just the intense and shallow patriotism so essential to the work of the mindmanagers.

To maximise popular vulnerability to propaganda, it is necessary to complement shallow and intense patriotism as a source of sacred symbols, with an equally mindless and intense anti-communism to provide a powerful source of satanic symbols. There is therefore great danger that if Australian corporations expand their current machinery of popular propaganda, they will also seek to intensify popular anti-communist fears, with the likelihood of serious consequences for foreign as well as domestic policy. EA’s publications have, from the beginning, been replete with dark references to a dangerous minority of disloyal ‘extremists’ who are hell-bent on destroying our economic political system and all our cherished liberties. The equation of criticism of our economic system with subversion of our political system was, of course, the central theme of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Americans have long been accustomed to the expenditure of many millions of dollars by diverse interest groups, to flood the media with crusading campaigns which attempt to convert everyone to prohibition, anti-communism, religious fundamentalism or whatever. Australian society has been relatively free of such campaigns of persuasion. In consequence the attempts of business to manage public opinion here are likely to be much more distinctive and visible and are therefore more likely to evoke an unfavourable response.

Unfortunately this advantage is now being eroded by the increasing practice of State and federal governments taking, at public expense, many pages of newspaper space to sell their policies to the publicalways of course, in the name of ‘information’ and ‘understanding’. 92 Australian society shares with other western democracies a particular vulnerability to the new developments. Our society has for so long been fed assumptions that any disposition to undertake Orwellian mind-management on a national scale is an exclusive prerogative of governments — and especially of communist governments — that the very last place they expect such a threat to come from is the leaders of capitalist industry within their own societies.

Business as a source of resistance. There is some prospect of significant resistance from within the ranks of business. CEDA’s leaders cannot rely on support even from its own member companies, for a move toward an AEI role. Malcolm Fraser’s proposal to establish an Australian AEI similarly failed to obtain substantial business support. EA has also met significant opposition from business quarters: Geoff Allen hardly helped EA’s credibility by publicly describing it as a ‘propaganda’ organisation; the Bank Education Service ‘...has been critical’ of EA and goes to some lengths to overcome ‘...suspicions’ of any ‘...possible link with EA’. 93 The Australian Chamber of Commerce takes sharp offence at any suggestion of similarity between its economic education programs and the activities and methods of Enterprise Australia, which has shifted further to the right.

In two conferences about business and society which were organised respectively by the Australian Council of Social Services and the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, leading representatives of Australian business expressly rejected the propagandist and opinion-managing tactics of American business. 94 Against all this there must be set, of course, the whole-hearted endorsement of such tactics by Hugh Morgan and his supporters. Overall, resistance from within Australian business may be expected to delay, but cannot be relied upon to prevent, the long-term achievement of the control of the political agenda that Morgan seeks. Such resistance may nonetheless provide an invaluable breathing space within which to search for other and more permanent safeguards against the realisation of Morgan’s vision.

Role of governments. Malcolm Fraser’s governments contributed notably to a general progress towards an opinion-managed state. They made a long leap forward in the use of public funds for advertisements to promote government policies, funded Project Australia, actively supported EA and urged corporate leaders to proselytise their employees. It must be expected that whenever the coalition is returned to power it will assist, in every possible way, the expansion of businessfunded popular propaganda and policy research.

There are two ways in which the Hawke government could, if it had the will, move to place some constraints in the way of such development. First, it could firmly forswear its own practice of proselytising for its policies by means of advertisements paid for out of public funds, and appeal to the opposition to make a similar commitment. Second, it could review present taxation law to prevent corporations from obtaining tax deductions for contributions to proselytising organisations like Enterprise Australia. It is ridiculous that members of a democratic society should be obliged to subsidise their own indoctrination by a partisan interest group, just because that group chooses to label its program ‘...economic education’. Similarly, corporate expenditure on policy research, which Marsh describes as ‘...invariably tendentious’, should not be tax-free. 95 Third, it is essential that the federal government give attention to the need for some legal restraint on the expenditure of funds by corporations for the purpose of influencing public opinion, before such expenditure becomes so vast and effective that political control of it is virtually impossible. It is crucial that we study and take warning from American experience here.

Media and Advertising. Both media corporations and advertising agencies can expect to benefit greatly from an expansion of political advertising. Hence resistance from that quarter is unlikely. Max Walsh, when asked at the AmCham conference already referred to how the media felt about ‘...advocacy advertising’, replied, ‘...we love it’. 96 In 1983, shortly after Malcolm Fraser had announced a plan to spend $800000 to sell the wages freeze, it was revealed that Mrs Thatcher’s government planned to spend $1.6 million ‘ soften up the British public to the prospect of cruise missiles outside their cities’. The Thatcher government was embarrassed by the head of a London advertising agency who went on TV to denounce the proposed use of public money. When Australian advertising executives were questioned on the matter, few acknowledged any reluctance at all to use ‘...taxpayers money to promote party political decisions’. 97

The attitude of advertising agencies is of strategic importance. In the US the initiative for vast corporate-funded proselytising campaigns has come from advertising and public-relations agencies more than from business itself-to which, indeed, the campaigns have in large measure been sold by the advertising agencies. This US background is especially relevant for reasons made clear some years ago by John Cumming, the owner of an Australian advertising agency. Warning that the Australian Association of Advertising Agencies had been under American control since 1976, Cumming described the industry as a ‘...wooden-horse’ for the cultural invasion of any country, and anticipated that Australia would be ‘...turned into the 52nd state ... as a result of the comparatively small advertising industry’. 98 By 1980 two thirds of Australian advertising was handled by agencies which were wholly or partly US owned. 99 Cumming’s fears may be exaggerated, but we must certainly expect the advertising industry to employ its persuasive skills to lead Australian business towards opinion-monitoring and management — as John Clemenger in particular have already been doing for a decade. 100 Finally, if Australian business follows the American path, we can sooner or later expect to hear a factitious clamour from corporate sources about how unfairly and incompetently business is reported in the media. 101 This clamour will be followed by expenses-paid, corporate-sponsored seminars and conferences in holiday surroundings where assorted journalists are helped to ‘understand’ the business viewpoint. 102

Schools. Departments of education throughout Australia have shown a remarkable readiness to assist EA’s varied efforts to ‘...penetrate’ schools. This is so despite a report by the Bank Education Service that EA has ‘...a questionable reputation with curriculum areas of most education departments’. 103 Much the most vigorous and vocal of all opposition to EA has come from teachers in state schools and their unions. 104 In consequence EA is probably not making much progress in public schools but may be faring a lot better in private schools. In neither case is reliable information available.

Some sort of publicly visible safeguard is necessary against undue invasion of the public schools by ideological and public-relations material, produced by business and industry agencies and other interest groups. Something of the kind could be provided if departments of education were required to collect information from all state schools that would enable them to publish annually an estimate of the total amount of ‘...outside’ material used in schools, and the percentage deriving from each significant source.

If US experience is repeated here we can expect that business in general, and EA in particular, will launch a campaign to have economics made a compulsory subject in high schools. Just such a campaign flourished in the US following the discovery by the Opinion Research Corporation that the more courses in economics a student had taken the greater was the commitment to conservative free-enterprise beliefs. 105 By 1976 more than half the states in the US had made high-school courses in economics compulsory for all students.

Universities and Colleges of Advanced Education. The response from researchers in universities and CAEs will be an important determinant of how far Australia goes along the path to ‘...guided-opinion’ democracy. There is no defence so effective against propaganda agencies which masquerade under the name of ‘education’ and ‘research’, as repeated exposure of their real purposes through detailed critical examination of their activities and output. Once effectively tagged with the propaganda label the credibility of such agencies-hence their influence-is almost irremediably destroyed. (Even the little I have myself published about EA has had, in the judgment of Jack Keavney, their former chief executive, a very serious impact on its reputation and credibility.) 106

The disastrous consequences for American democracy resulting from the rise of corporate propaganda could not I believe, have happened but for an almost unbelievable neglect by liberal American scholars and researchers to give any systematic attention and exposure to the extent, character and consequences of this development. 107 American scholars and researchers by the thousand have wittingly and unwittingly helped in every imaginable way to make the monitoring and management of public opinion by business more effective. 108 A great deal will depend on whether or not Australian academics in the social sciences are able to produce a very different record from their American colleagues.

It is already clear that corporations, with the advantage of abundant funds, will have no difficulty in finding academics who will give the seal of professional (especially professorial) credibility to ‘...invariably tendentious’ policy research conducted from the viewpoint of business. The survey of attitudes of workers, union officials and managers which was sponsored in 1979 by the American-owned insurance company Sentry Holdings Ltd is a case in point. 109 Its sampling, interpretation and subsequent promotion were all clearly biased, so as to yield results adverse to union interests. 110 Yet this whole exercise was made possible only by the naive cooperation of unions and their members.

The survey of managements’ and unions’ views about industrial relations that was sponsored by CEDA provides another example. 111 By a systematic disregard of contradictory data, this study was interpreted to reveal a high level of dissatisfaction with the present industrial-relations system among corporate executives. In fact any such conclusion accords much more closely with the known views of the study’s sponsors than it does with the evidence produced.

Given the cultural resistance that appears to be blocking the establishment of an AEI-type policy-research institute independent of universities, it must be expected that universities and university scholars in the social sciences will be subject to increasing pressures and temptations to become ever more deeply involved in politically motivated research on behalf of corporations. This is a prospect which should profoundly concern academic staff associations and professorial boards.

Unions. Much will depend on how quickly unions can come to appreciate that the essential weapons in the emerging conditions will not be strikes, the crude economic power of employers, the sympathy of the government in office, or the form of the system for settling disputes. The essential new weapon in the armoury of Australian corporations will be what managements call ‘communications’. The purpose of the new weapon will always be represented as a benevolent concern with improvement in mutual understanding. But its real purpose, as revealed in the American context, is the ‘persuasive communication’ of managements’ viewpoint and values to ‘target’ audiences inside and outside industry, 112 in order both to weaken support for unions among the general public and to weaken the tie between unions and employees.

The decisive upward and downward turning points in the history of American unions were the Wagner Act of 1935 and the Taft Hartley Act of 1947; and these turning points reflected one condition above all others-favourable public opinion in 1935 and unfavourable public opinion in 1947. Malcolm Fraser built up an armoury of legal weapons for use against unions. One thing only prevented him from using them; his polls showed that he would not have the support of public opinion if he did so.

In the US, industrial relations are still formally conducted by direct negotiation between the parties. In reality, managements’ freedom of action and the terms that unions will have to accept are to a great degree predetermined by the level of effectiveness achieved by management’s two-pronged ‘communication’ activities. Over 30 years ago Whyte described American management’s preoccupation with domestic ‘communications’, and Peter Drucker acknowledged that the principal purpose of a major aspect of this communication program had been to ‘...bust the unions’ . 113 For 50 years the first preoccupation of the US National Association of Manufacturers was public opinion. 114

The success of this strategy over the last 30 years has brought disastrous consequences for the union movement. Fortunately the use of a similar strategy in Australia is seriously hindered by the arbitration system, as it exists at present. I doubt whether most Australian corporate managers, who are products of a more egalitarian and less ideological culture, would carry exploitation of the communications weapon to the lengths American managements have carried it. Nonetheless, unions must expect that many Australian corporations will try to follow the American course.

These prospective developments require new responses from unions both towards their own members and towards the public at large. Unions should warn their members to have nothing to do with any management-initiated communications project (for example annual reports for employees, economic-education programs, surveys of the opinions of union officials and members, ‘worker participation’ schemes) unless people with the inclination and qualifications to took after union and worker interests are involved at every level of the planning and execution of such projects. In particular, workers should on no account participate in polls or surveys initiated by employer agencies or university researchers unless qualified representatives of union interests are involved in both the design of the survey and the interpretation of results.

Unions need to develop more capacity to counter managements’ ‘communication’ and public-relations activities with competing union initiatives, including policy research as the AMWU has done. On the public-relations front unions will continue to be at a great disadvantage until they can educate their members to appreciate the need to pay for some public-opinion monitoring. Unions badly need reliable feedback from polls on how, when and where strikes may be used with least damage to union public relations.

In recent years a high proportion of strikes has occurred in publicly owned service industries, where they inconvenience a maximum number of people and discredit public ownership, rather than in private industries where neither of these results follow. It must never be forgotten that, no matter how many strikes the union movement wins, it will in the long run come to disaster if it loses the support of public opinion. If American union history has not conveyed persuasive warning on this point, nothing ever will.

In sum, the future shape of Australian society depends in significant degree on a number of considerations bearing on the introduction of tried and tested American methods for creating a ‘guided-opinion’ democracy:

1. the strength of cultural resistance of various kinds to the introduction of such methods, and especially of cultural resistance within the Australian business community, which is not to be expected within the American-controlled sector generally, or in the American-dominated advertising industry in particular.

2. the extent to which unions become aware that the greatest threat they now face is the growth of a management communications octopus, that will have the capacity to come between unions and the workforce, and between unions and the public generally.

3. the extent to which unions can find the intellectual and financial resources to counter these threats.

4. the extent to which scholars at universities and other tertiary institutions either join the Morgans of this world in pursuing a corporation-controlled political agenda, or challenge and expose the incipient but rapidly growing mind-management industry for the profoundly illiberal and subversive development that it is.

5. the extent to which it becomes accepted practice for universities and university staff to lend their authority to tendentiously argued policy briefs, produced on commission for corporations, and call this activity ‘research’.

Author’s Note: I am indebted to Trudy Korber for extensive contributions to the research on which this chapter is based.


1. Alex Carey ‘Social Science Propaganda and Democracy’ in P. Boreharn and G. Dow (eds) Work and Inequality vol. 2, Melbourne: Macmillan, 1980, pp. 60-93

2. I. Marsh ‘Business Government Relations: Some Recent United States Developments’ The Australian Director, February 1981, pp. 10-14

3. I. Marsh An Australian Think Tank? CEDA Study M61, University of New South Wales, Kensington 1980

4. K. McQuaid ‘The Roundtable: getting results in Washington’, Harvard Business Review May-June 1981, pp. 115-22

5. Carey ‘Social Science Propaganda’

6. B. Carr ‘Big Business Launches New Lobby Group’, Bulletin 10 February 1981, pp. 1, 22

7. T. Ferguson and J. Rogers ‘The Knights of the Roundtable’, Nation 15 December 1979, p. 621; McQuaid ‘The Roundtable’

8. Marsh ‘An Australian Think Tank?’

9. P. Burgess Economic Policy Research in Australia, Committee for Economic Development in Australia, Information Paper No. IP13, Sydney, 1984, pp. 3-6

10. J. Niland and D. Turner Control, Consensus or Chaos, Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1985

11. A. Carey ‘Reshaping the Truth: Pragmatists and Propagandists in America’ Meanjin Quarterly 35, 4, 1976, pp. 370-78

12. E.G. Hartmann, The Movement to Americanize the Immigrant New York: Columbia University Press, 1948, pp. 3843, 56-63, 88-97

13. ibid. pp. 127-33, 162-79

14. ibid. pp. 216-19; L. Post, The Deportations Delirium of Nineteen Twenty,New York: Da Capo, 1970 (originally published in 1923) pp. 51-109; C. Beard and M. Beard, The Rise of American Civilization vol. 2 ‘The Industrial Era’, New York: Macmillan, 1927, pp. 639-43, 671-79

15. For Wilson’s World War I propaganda program see G. Creel How We Advertised America New York: Harper, 1920 and J. Mock and C. Larson Words That Won the War Princeton University Press, 1939; for adaptation of this program by the private utilities see F. McDonald Insull University of Chicago, 1962, pp. 171-72 and 182-83

16. Federal Trade Commission Summary Report, Document 92, Part 71A 70th Congress, First Session, p. 18, cited in K. Schriftgeisser The Lobbyists Boston: Little Brown, 1951, p. 59

17. Schriftgeisser The Lobbyists p. 59

18. J. Levin Power Ethics New York: Knopf, 1931, pp. 53-54, 150

19. Schriftgeisser The Lobbyists pp. 59-60

20. Hearings before a Senate Committee cited in Levin Power Ethics p. 153

21. Report of the Senate Committee on Education and Labor, ‘Violations of Free Speech and Rights of Labor, 78th Congress, First Session. Report No. 6, Part 6, p. 155. Cited in A.S. Cleveland, Some Political Aspects of Organised Industry, PhD thesis, Harvard University, 1947

22. National Association of Manufacturers ‘Proceedings of the Fortieth Annual Convention of the Congress of American Industry’ (1935). Cited in S. Rippa Organized Business and Public Education: The Educational Policies and Activities of the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers 1933-56. Thesis for Doctor of Education Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, 1958

23. US Congress, Senate Committee on Education and Labor Violations of Free Speech and Rights of Labor Hearings pursuant to S. Res. 266, 74th Congress, before a sub-committee of the Committee on Education and Labor, 75th, 76th Congresses, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1937-39, Part 17, p. 7693, Exhibit 3838. Cited in Rippa Organized Business.

24. US Congress, Senate Committee on Education and Labor Violations of Free Speech and Rights of Labor, 76th Congress, First Session, Senate Report No. 6, Part 6, Part III, The National Association of Manufacturers, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1939, p.- 218

25. W.H. Whyte ‘Is Anybody Listening? Fortune September 1950, pp. 78-83 and ff. In 1942 James Selvage, director of public relations for the NAM, foreshadowed the postwar program. In an impassioned appeal published in Vital Speeches (journal of the US Chamber of Commerce), he urged the importance of ‘selling the American Way to America’. ‘Skilful and intelligent publicists’ must ‘unsell millions of Americans on a lot of economic tommyrot’. It is ‘not a job today of selling merchandise ... Our merchandise is and must be ... the American system of individual initiative and profit as contrasted with a regimented economy. We are selling America itself to Americans who have forgotten what America has symbolized’ (Selvage Vital Speeches 1942, p. 145). War conditions inhibited the launching of the proposed program until 1945.

26. In 1946 ‘a consortium of Wisconsin businessmen ... helped to finance and engineer McCarthy’s rise ... to the US Senate. An aura of big business ... enveloped the Senator ever since ... the 1952 presidential elections. Money contributed by his well-heeled supporters also followed him unquestioningly into other strategic senatorial contests’: C.J. Murphy ‘McCarthy and the Businessman’ Fortune April 1954, pp. 156-58 and ff. For moral support given to McCarthy at the height of his infamy by the US Chamber of Commerce and the NAM, see D.M. Oshinsky Senator Joseph McCarthy and the American Labor Movement University of Missouri Press, 1976. The NAM maintained in September 1951, that the term ‘McCarthyism’ may yet go down in history as one of honour and high courage despite the strenuous efforts ... to make it sound like something bad’ (Oshinsky, p. 173); R.M. Freeland The Truman Doctrine and the Origin of McCarthyism New York: Knopf, 1975

27. W.H. Whyte ‘Is Anybody Listening’ p. 78; H.G. Moulton and C.W. McKee ‘How Good is Economic Education?’ Fortune July 1951, p. 126; D. Bell ‘Industrial Conflict and Public Opinion’ in A. Kornhauser, A.R. Dubin and A. Ross (eds) Industrial Conflict New York: McGraw-Hill, 1954, p. 254

28. According to polls conducted by Yankelovich, a leading monitor of public opinion on behalf of American business, popular satisfaction with the behaviour of US corporations — i.e., big business-declined from 70 per cent in 1968 to 20 per cent in 1974 and 17 per cent in 1978 (J. Henry ‘From Soap to Soapbox: The Corporate Merchandising of Ideas’ Working Papers for a New Society 2, 3, 1980, pp. 55-57; P. Lesley ‘Why Economic Education is Failing’ Management Review October 1976, pp. 17-23; N. Wardell ‘The Corporation’ Daedalus 107, 1978, pp. 97-110). The Clemenger advertising agency, Melbourne, which appears to be playing for Australian business a monitoring role comparable with that of Yankelovich in the US, published similar results from Yankelovich polls (along with Australian poll results) as early as 1975 (John Clemenger Pty Ltd ‘What every Corporate Communicator Should Know About His Hostile Audience’ Melbourne: Clemenger, 1975, p. 3).

29. US Congress Oversight Hearings on Commerce Department Payment to the National Advertising Council for Promotion of the Free Enterprise System, Washington DC, Keith Congress First Session of 30 July 1975, p. 6

30. P. Weaver ‘Corporations Are Defending Themselves with the Wrong Weapons’ Fortune June 1977, p. 188

31. J.D. Baxter, K.W. Kennett, I.G. Black, C.T. Post, R. Reagan and G.A. Weimer ‘Is Government Having a Chilling Effect on Business’ Right to Speak?’ Iron Age 23 October 1978, p. 67

32. A. Crittenden, ‘A New Corporate Activism in the US’ AFR 18 July 1978, p. 6

33. A. McDougall ‘Advocacy: Business Increasingly Uses (in Both Senses) Media to Push Views’ Los Angeles Times 16 November 1980

34. D. Yankelovich and L. Kaagan ‘Assertive America’ Foreign Affairs 59, 1981, p. 696

35. M. Meagher ‘Spreading the Word for Free Enterprise’ Australian 4 April 1979, p. 13

36. B.A. Cummins ‘The Advertising Council’s Campaign on Economic Education’ April 1979 (text of address to business groups) p. 3

37. W. Scott Greater Production Sydney: The Law Book Co., 1950, pp. 429-51

38. American Economic Foundation 37th Annual Report, AEF, New York 1976, pp. 1- 10, 16

39. Scott Greater Production pp. 11-12, 437-39

40. ‘About the IPA’ IPA Review April-June 1968, pp. 33-40

41. ‘Understanding Free Enterprise’ IPA Review January-March 1956, pp. 9-14; much of the economic activity reported by the IPA in 1956 describes programs in operation several years earlier

42. Carey ‘Social Science Propaganda and Democracy’

43. Australian Chamber of Commerce ‘National Chamber Intensities Programme to Promote Free Enterprise’ ACC 69th Annual Report 1972-73, 1973, p. 13

44. ibid. p. 22

45. A. Dawson ‘Economic Education in Australia’ in The First National Private Enterprise Convention Information Paper no. 5 CEDA Appendix, Sydney 1976

46. G. Allen ‘The Capitalist Offensive’ Age 31 March 1976

47. AmCham ‘Directors’ Report’ Annual Report (unpaginated) 1977

48. W. Finnegan ‘Enterprise Australia: Its Work and Influence in “Economic Education” ‘ Appendix 1, ‘Interview with Personnel Operations Manager, IBM’ School of Psychology University of NSW (unpublished) 1984, p. 1

49. ‘Enterprise Australia’ Australian Free Enterprise Association Ltd, Sydney (no pagination, no date but in fact 1975)

50. G. Allen ‘The Capitalist Offensive’

51. J.T. Keavney ‘Australia: Turning Away from Socialism’ Vital Speeches 15 February 1981, p. 264

52. J.T. Keavney ‘Building for Profit’ Sydney: Enterprise Australia, 1977, p. 3

53. ‘Company Employee Reporting’ Newsletter Sydney: Enterprise Austra lia, May 1977

54. ‘Television Documentary Series’ Newsletter, Enterprise Australia, July 1978, p. 4 Notes 193

55. M. Meagher ‘Spreading the Word’ p. 13; ‘Radio Spots’ Newsletter, Enterprise Australia, May 1978, p. 2; ‘Action 1980’ Sydney: Enterprise Australia (unpaginated, undated, but 1980)

56. B. Carr ‘Troubleshooter with a difference’ Bulletin 15 August 1978, p. 41

57. ‘Audio-Visual Economics Course in Schools’ Enterprise News Sydney: Enterprise Australia, June 1979, p. 2: ‘Action 1981’ Sydney: Enterprise Australia (unpaginated, undated but 1981)

58. R. Crichton-Brown ‘Looking to the Future — The Institute’s Role in the Corporate Sphere’ The Australian Director October- December 1977, pp. 13, 15

59. E. Hook and J. Harding (eds) The World of Business Milton, Qld: Jacaranda Wiley, 1982

60. The Queensland Confederation of Industry established the World of Business Research Foundation in 1979 to receive corporate contributions (thereby made tax-deductible) towards the cost of commissioning the manuscript of the book. Its task accomplished, the Foundation ceased to exist in 1981 ('Audio-Visual Economics Course’ 1979; J.T. Keavney ‘Economic Literacy-Industry’s Responsibility’ Sydney: Enterprise Australia, 14 July 1981.

61. AmCham ‘Directors Report’ 1977

62. ‘The Facts on the Enterprise Australia Schools and Colleges Programme’ A Special Bulletin for the Information of Members Sydney: Enterprise Australia, September 1982

63. ‘The Capitalist Crisis-Meeting the Challenge’ Sydney: Enterprise Australia (unpaginated, undated, but early 1983)

64. L. Hollings ‘Current Affairs’ The Australian Director August- September 1983, p. 26

65. W. Simon A Time for Truth Sydney: McGraw Hill, 1978, pp. 191-233; W. Simon ‘Clearly this is Economic Insanity’ Enterprise Washington NAM, April 1978, p. 6

66. A. Crittenden ‘A New Corporate Activism’ p. 9

67. P. Montgomery ‘Business Institutes on the Rise’ New York Times March 1981, chs 1, 5

68. D. Broadbent, ‘Sheil wants colleges to teach more profitable subjects’ Age 4 September 1981

69. J.T. Keavney ‘Advance Australia Fair’ Enterprise (Washington) August 1978, pp. 8-10; J.T. Keavney ‘Australia: Turning Away from Socialism’ Vital Speeches 15 February 1981, pp. 264-66

70. ‘Publications in Print’ London: The Institute of Economic Affairs, 1981

71. M. Sawer ‘Political Manifestations of Libertarianism in Australia’ in M. Sawer (ed.) Australia and the New Right Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1982, p. 8

72. R. Harris ‘The Conversion of the Intellectual’ in M. Ivens (ed.) International Papers on the Revival of Freedom and Enterprise London: Aims, 1978, pp. 10-12

73. Burgess Economic Policy Research p. 77

74. D. Rockefeller David Rockefeller in Australia CEDA, 1979, p. 50

75. CEDA ‘Economic Policy Research in Australia’ CEDA Information, 1984 Paper no. 5; CEDA Annual Report (unpaginated) 1984

76. Dawson ‘Economic Education in Australia’

77. Burgess Economic Policy Research

78. Marsh ‘An Australian Think Tank?’

79. J. Utz ‘Foreword’ in Burgess Economic Policy Research p. 4

80. ibid. p. 8

81. Niland and Turner Control, Consensus or Chaos p. 1

82. Burgess Economic Policy Research pp. 7-29

83. ibid. p. 15

84. M. Sawer ‘Political Manifestations’ pp. 7-9

85. W. Kasper Capital Xenophobia — Australian Controls of Foreign Investment Sydney: Centre for Independent Studies, 1984

86. Burgess Economic Policy Research p. 17

87. P. Sheehan ‘The Right Strikes Back’ SMH 2 March 1982, p. 3

88. Burgess Economic Policy Research p. 26

89. University of Queensland Press, 1980

90. K. Barlowe, The Ideology of the Higher School Certificate Economics Syllabus, Masters Thesis, School of Education, Macquarie University, 1985.

91. Sheehan ‘The Right Strikes Back’ pp. 37-38

92. ‘Public Money, Private Goals’ SMH editorial 21 February 1985

93. M. Kerr ‘Economics in Primary Schools’ Economics (journal of Economics and Commerce teachers Association NSW) April 1983, pp. 31-37

94. P. Paech (ed.) The Social Responsibilities of Business in the 1980s Sydney: The Australian Council of Social Service, 1980; ‘Corporate Risks in the Australian Political Environment: Responding to the Growing Pressures’ Transcript of Proceedings from the 20th Annual General Meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, March 1981, Overmeyer Ltd, Sydney

95. Marsh ‘An Australian Think Tank?’ pp. 1-2

96. M. Walsh, ‘Media Perceptions of the Corporation’ in Corporate Risks in the Australian Political Environment Sydney: AmCham, 1981, p. 43

97. R. Milliken ‘Ad Chiefs Give Thumbs Up to Policy Promotion’ National Times 6-12 February 1983, p. 5

98. L. Blanket ‘The Last Angry Adman’ Advertising News 10 November 1978

99. ‘US Fondness for Our Agencies’ Advertising News 14 March 1980

100. John Clemenger Pty Ltd ‘What Every Corporate Communicator Should Know About His Hostile Audience’, Melbourne: Clemenger, 1975; John Clemenger Pty Ltd The Corporate Dilemma Melbourne: Clemenger, 1980

101. A strong bid of this kind was in fact attempted at the AmCham Conference by a representative of a major advertising agency. In a fashion inconceivable in the US it was dismissed with mockery and derision in a related commentary by Max Walsh, managing editor of the AFR (M. Walsh ‘Media Perceptions of the Corporation’ in Corporate Risks in the Australian Political Environment Sydney: AmCham, 1981, pp. 38-39, 42-43

102. P. Dreier ‘The Corporate Complaint Against the Media’ The Quill November 1983

103. M. Kerr ‘Economics in Primary Schools’ Economics (journal of Economics and Commerce Teachers Association NSW) April 1983, p. 32

104. D. Bell ‘Enterprise Australia — Handle With Caution’ Education 5 July 1982; ‘In the Name of All that is Sacred... We give you Enterprise Australia’ Queensland Teachers Journal 22 April 1982; J.T. Keavney ‘Your Organization Under Fire’ Special Bulletin Enterprise Australia, September 1982 (unpaginated); R. Moran ‘Business Wants to Tell the Truth’ T. TUV News No. 5, 1981; R. Moran ‘Fanatical Believers in Private Enterprise’ Australian Teacher No. 1, 1982; R.M. Shanahan ‘Enterprise Australia: Knowledge for Whom?’ South Australian Teachers Journal 22 April 1982

105. ‘Why Too Many College Students Are Economic Illiterates’ The Public Opinion Index for Industry, Princeton Opinion Research Corporation, April 1960; A.C. Neal ‘Boobs and Booby Traps in Economic Education’, address by Alfred C. Neal, president, Committee for Economic Development at the 32nd Annual New England Bank Management Conference Boston Massachusetts, 25 October 1962

106. J.T. Keavney ‘A Commentary by the Chief Executive of Enterprise Australia’ 2 September 1982. Keavney is, indeed, moved to hyperbole by the occasion. He observes that ‘attacks on Enterprise Australia in the journals of teachers’ unions have spread like a bushfire in 1982’ causing ‘great damage’. Keavney notes that bushfires may be started ‘by nothing more than a discarded cigarette butt’ and goes on to attribute a similarly culpable incendiary role to my article (i.e., A. Carey, ‘Social Science Propaganda')

107. A. Carey, Business Propaganda and Democracy, University of NSW, 1983 (unpublished)

108. W. Albig ‘Two Decades of Public Opinion Study: 1936-1956’ Public Opinion Quarterly 21, 3 1957, pp. 15-22

109. Managers and Workers at the Crossroads Sydney: Sentry Holdings, 1978

110. H. Gill Managers and Workers at the Cross-Roads — A Critique, Discussion Paper No. 2, Business Research Centre North Brisbane College of Advanced Education 1979; A. Carey, Worker Motivation: Social Science, Propaganda and Democracy, University of NSW, 1979 (unpublished) pp. 33-35

111. Niland and Turner Control, Consensus or Chaos

112. Whyte ‘Is Anybody Listening?’

113 ibid.; P. Drucker ‘Have Employee Relations Policies Had the Desired Effect?’ American Management Association Personnel Series 134, 1950, p. 7

114 See Enterprise, the monthly bulletin of the NAM, for 1975-1980

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