The Classical Liberal Case for Privacy in a World of Surveillance and Technological Change

Palgrave Macmillan, 2018 (forthcoming)

How should a free society protect privacy? Dramatic changes in national security law and surveillance, as well as technological changes from social media to smart cities mean that our ideas about privacy and its protection are being challenged like never before. In this interdisciplinary book, Chris Berg explores what classical liberal approaches to privacy can bring to current debates about surveillance, encryption and new financial technologies. Ultimately, he argues that the principles of classical liberalism – the rule of law, individual rights, property and entrepreneurial evolution – can help extend as well as critique contemporary philosophical theories of privacy.

Forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan.

Australia’s Red Tape Crisis: The Causes and Costs of Over-regulation

Edited with Darcy Allen. Connor Court Publishing, 2018

Red tape costs the Australian economy as much as $176 billion a year. Governments create and enforce thousands of regulations on our workplaces and our communities. These rules slow and prevent businesses forming, people from flourishing, new technologies from being adopted, and hold back Australia’s global competitiveness.

Australia’s Red Tape Crisis is an exploration into the economics, politics and culture of over-regulation. How should we structure our federation to achieve reform? Why should political responsibility sit with the elected? Does Australia have a deep desire for a federal bureaucracy? What is the future of red tape reduction policies?

Together, the contributions of economists, philosophers, politicians and lawyers help define a path for overcoming Australia’s red tape crisis.

Available from Connor Court Publishing

Against Public Broadcasting: Why we should privatise the ABC and how to do it

With Sinclair Davidson. Connor Court Publishing, 2018

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is a media colossus with a reputation for integrity and quality. It is also a billion-dollar government program that lacks any coherent justification for its existence. Chris Berg and Sinclair Davidson provide a highly readable account of how and why the ABC has come to be in this position. This is the first serious analysis of the rationale for the ABC and its existence in decades.

When the ABC was founded in the 1930s the problem was a scarcity of media. Now that we live in a world of media plenty, it is hard to see why the government is still subsidising a media empire. This book provides an outline of how policymakers can dispose of the ABC, while at the same time preserving its value and realising that value for the benefit of taxpayers.

Available from Connor Court Publishing

The Libertarian Alternative

Melbourne University Publishing, 2016

Libertarianism wants government out of your wallet and out of your bedroom.

Libertarianism—the philosophy of government that pairs free market economics with social liberalism— presents a vigorous challenge and viable political alternative to the old Left-Right partisan shouting match.

Libertarianism offers surprising new solutions to stagnant policy debates over issues such as immigration and civil rights, and provides a framework for tackling contemporary problems like privacy, the environment and technological change.

In The Libertarian Alternative, Chris Berg offers a new agenda for restoring individual liberty in Australia, revitalising politics and strengthening our sagging economy.

Available from Melbourne University Publishing and Amazon.com

Magna Carta: The tax revolt that gave us liberty

With John Roskam, Institute of Public Affairs, 2015

‘Our liberty, democracy, and human rights are all in some way related to what was inscribed on parchment at Runnymede in June 1215’

The Magna Carta is a founding document of individual liberty, rule of law, and parliamentary democracy. In this accessible and engaging book, Chris Berg and John Roskam explain what the Magna Carta is, where it came from, and why it matters.

The barons demanded of King John nothing less than a wholesale revolution of government. The Magna Carta establish the fundamental link between tax and consent.

Eight centuries later, understanding how our liberties came from a revolt against oppressive taxation has never been more important.

Available from the Institute of Public Affairs and Amazon.com

Liberty, Equality & Democracy

Connor Court Publishing, 2015

No one has the right to rule. If we don’t believe our fellow citizens are intellectually capable of deciding what and how much to eat, whether to drink, or how to arrange their financial affairs, then why do we think they are capable of voting?’

We live in a fundamentally undemocratic age. Governments treat their citizens as incapable of making decisions for themselves. Policy-making power has been taken out of the hands of elected politicians. Poll after poll shows the public are unhappy with democracy itself. In this wide-ranging book, Chris Berg makes the case for radical democratic equality, and a democracy order that truly respects the equality and rights of its citizens.

Available from Connor Court Publishing and Amazon.com

In Defence of Freedom of Speech: From Ancient Greece to Andrew Bolt

Institute of Public Affairs and Mannkal Economic Education Foundation 2012

Freedom of speech is at the heart of individual liberty and democracy. Yet, in Australia and around the Western world, it is under attack on all sides: from regulations to force ‘balance’ on the press, to new human rights like the right not to be offended.

In this important new book, Chris Berg offers a bold reinterpretation of why freedom of speech matters. Only by understanding how the right to free expression and freedom of conscience arose can we understand the magnitude of the threats we now face.

The liberty to express our thoughts and opinions is one of the central foundations of Western Civilisation. When governments threaten that freedom of speech, they threaten the foundations of liberty and the democratic system.

Available at the Institute of Public Affairs and Amazon.com

100 Great Books of Liberty: The Essential Guide to the Greatest Idea of Western Civilisation

Edited with John Roskam and Andrew Kemp, Connor Court Publishing, 2010

100 Great Books of Liberty is a comprehensive and accessible guide to the books which made liberty the most important idea of Western Civilisation. From Plato’s The Republic and The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, to Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, these 100 books have laid the foundation for the modern world.

Covering history, biography, philosophy, politics, and fiction, 100 Great Books of Liberty is the indispensible guide to the foundations of Western Civilisation.

100 Great Books of Liberty is a joint project of the Institute of Public Affairs and Mannkal Economic Education Foundation.

100 Great Books of Liberty is the essential guide to: The Republic, Two Treatises on Government, The Wealth of Nations, The Western Canon Reflections on the Revolution in France, The Rights of Man, On Liberty, Leaves of Grass, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Democracy in America, The Federalist Papers, The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy, Animal Farm, Witness, Capitalism and Freedom, The Tyranny of Distance, The End of History, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Darkness at Noon, The Fountainhead … and eighty other great books of liberty.

Available at Amazon.com

The Growth Of Australia’s Regulatory State: Ideology, Accountability And The Mega-Regulators

Institute of Public Affairs, 2008

Regulation is a political activity. It sets the framework for the market economy by defining the boundaries between private action and government action. Yet those boundaries are not fixed. Australian governments are growing the body of regulation — and the resources dedicated to regulating — at an ever increasing pace.

As Chris Berg argues, this growth in regulation has more than just economic consequences. It has significant political implications, as regulatory agencies are increasing their power and influence. Furthermore, those agencies are animated by a new regulatory ideology which favours interventionism and ‘arm-twisting’, adding to the powers of regulatory agencies.

Available in PDF here.