Speeding Towards Dystopia: Social Policy in the United States and Australia

In a report to the UN Human Rights Council in June, Philip Alston argued that the combination of rapidly growing inequality and 40 million people living below the poverty line endangers American democracy. Policies deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest and punish those who are not in employment will make the situation much worse.

While leading members of Congress endorsed his findings, Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the UN and a Trump cabinet member, replied that “it is patently ridiculous for the UN to examine poverty in America.” Alston should instead have looked at Burundi and the DRC rather than wasting “the UN's time and resources, deflecting attention from the world' s worst human rights abusers and focusing instead on the wealthiest and freest country in the world.”

In this lecture, Professor Philip Alston reflects on what he sees as the increasingly dramatic parallels between the US and Australia, and the threat posed by these developments.

This lecture is presented in collaboration with the Human Rights Law Centre.

Presenter: Professor Philip Alston