A full length interview with Drs Ben Spies-Butcher (Macquarie University) and Gareth Bryant (Sydney University), recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.
The subject of the interview was his paper, titled "The Shifting Politics of Financialising Higher Education"
The abstract for the paper is:
This paper explores the Australian innovation of income contingent student loans as a form of financialised social policy. The expansion of finance has been a defining feature of contemporary capitalism. Within the welfare state, two dynamics have seen a growing role for finance. The first involves the tensions between growing tax resistance from business and sustained support for existing and maturing social provision from the public. That tension generates a ‘politics of austerity’ in which financialised policies like Australia’s Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) can provide a potential response. The second involves demands from finance markets to ‘unlock’ the relatively secure savings of households. Most advanced in housing and pension policy, this form of financialisation has extended to student loan markets in the United States. Using this framework, the paper argues HECS combined elements of a tax and a loan in ways that confounded standard accounting principles and advanced a ‘Third Way’ politics of social expansion within neoliberalism. However, by shifting the form of policy towards a financial instrument, HECS changed the nature of political contest. The paper uses recent reports from think tanks and the Parliamentary Budget Office to explore how accounting frameworks are becoming an increasingly important site of policy contest and relates this to a broader trend evident in debates over tax expenditures and public private partnerships.