How can it be that Sweden has an infant mortality rate half that in Australia and the UK and a third that in the US? And why, in light of this, is the Swedish policy approach ignored in the Anglophone world? Andrew Scott suggests that Australia and other nations following US and UK policy examples, along with these traditional "exemplar" nations themselves, should give close consideration to the Nordic European experience.
Sweden has played a leading role in improving wellbeing and lowering poverty among children. Finland has achieved stunning success in schools. Denmark invests in comprehensive skills training as part of providing security as well as flexibility in people's employment lives. Norway's taxation approach ensures that natural resources are used sustainably for the entire nation's long-term wealth.
Workforce participation rates are high, alongside shorter working hours. Strong economic growth is combined with ecological sustainability and a comparatively high level of income equality and social cohesiveness.
As Nobel laureate Peter Doherty affirms on the Northern Lights cover, this book demonstrates that there are other options open to us.
Heather Neilson, a long-time Gore Vidal scholar who corresponded with her subject for many years, examines Vidal's central preoccupation with how power is obtained and used.
Vidal, who occupies a unique position within American letters as a person born into a political family who has run for office several times, has been consistently critical of his nation's political system and its leaders.
Vidal's most complete and sophisticated articulation of his philosophy in relation to power appears in his historical fiction – his series about American history, the "Narratives of Empire" and the novels set in the ancient world, Creation and Julian. It is on these writings that Neilson primarily focuses.
In each of these works, she argues, Vidal evokes a world in which deliberately propagated falsehood – "disinformation" – becomes established as truth. Political and religious leaders are a particular focus, along with the mass media. Neilson asserts that Vidal's oeuvre has a Shakespearean resonance in its persistent obsession with the question of what constitutes legitimate power and authority.
Colin Tatz is a world authority on racial conflict and abuse, a key figure in Aboriginal studies in Australia and an author of major works on genocide, Aboriginal youth suicide, and Aboriginal and Islander sporting achievements.
In Human Rights and Human Wrongs, he tells his personal story. Born and educated in South Africa, Tatz worked to expose and oppose that nation's centuries-old apartheid regime before leaving for what he thought would be a more enlightened nation, only to find in Australia striking parallels.
Tatz's story, ranging from southern Africa to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Israel, is an important one for those interested in the struggle to achieve social justice for minorities and marginalised peoples.