It’s the question for our times, and we have no time to lose

Anna Yeatman 

One of the few points of agreement in the wake of Brexit, the election of Trump and the success of minority parties in the last election is that the disenfranchised, the alienated and the forgotten are seizing the opportunity to express the depth of their anger.

But what lies beyond that anger? What, if any, options do we have?

In a new paper released by the Whitlam Institute titled The Question for Our Times, Whitlam Institute Professorial Research Fellow Professor Anna Yeatman distils a vast body of work to outline not only how the failures of neoliberalism (market liberalism), so firmly entrenched in modern society, are now clear but perhaps more importantly the contours of a social democratic alternative.

"The social liberal/social democratic idea of institutional design was built upon the historically established institutional order of the constitutional state and the rule of law – the state understood as sovereign public power", writes Professor Yeatman.

For too many the dire state-of-the-world risks giving way to despair in the seeming absence of an alternative. 

"Professor Yeatman categorically rejects this distinctly modern form of fatalism," says Whitlam Institute Director Eric Sidoti.

"In spite of its dark portrayal of contemporary circumstance, it is an optimistic paper. For at its heart is a compelling argument for the existence of a genuine alternative – reclaiming the social democratic project."

In the paper, Professor Yeatman argues that we are the architects of our own institutional design – and we decide whether the relationships that we have with each other as a society ought to be, at their core, collaborative or competitive.

"It's a question for each of us," writes Professor Yeatman, "and we have no time to lose."

Professor Anna Yeatman is available for interview.

Amy Sambrooke, Communications Manager, Whitlam Institute, 

0421 784 253,

Jenna Beck, Communications Coordinator, Whitlam Institute, 

0415 190 405,


22 February 2017

Media Unit