The Transition from Businessman to Writer

On the 1st December 2014, one hundred and seventy friends gathered at The Wheeler Centre to hear the Hon. Jim Carlton AO launch my first book, The Fragility of Freedom: Why Subsidiarity Matters.

It was a significant milestone in my life. In three years, I had transitioned from businessman to writer.

For thirty-five years, I had managed the professional services consultancy, Fenwick Software, which I founded in 1976. Its culture is built on the values of classical liberalism I had learnt at home and at school.

Staff are given autonomy, expected to apply themselves diligently, to give their best and to behave responsibly in the interests of their clients and their colleagues.

Most of our clients are small-to-medium-sized enterprises. This is an area of the economy where the free market survives. They are independent and proud, and do not expect government help; in fact they would be embarrassed to receive it.

The practical work experience I gained running a business in a free market economy gave me a unique opportunity to apply my liberal philosophies. I use anecdotes from these experiences in my book.

I explain the sources of the liberty and prosperity that we take for granted. I discuss the threats to our freedom from the well-meaning but flawed political doctrines of the twentieth-century. I define a better and fairer world for our grandchildren. I explain why subsidiarity matters.

Jim Carlton’s career included being a management consultant with McKinsey, the Minister for Health in the Fraser government and the Secretary General of the Australian Red Cross. With John Hyde and Peter Stack he formed the Crossroads Group which promoted the free market cause within the parliamentary Liberal party. He was awarded an Order of Australia in 2001. Introducing him, Lindsay Moore said, “Given his background, there would be few better equipped to form a view on The Fragility of Freedom and none more appropriate to launch this important book.”

Here is an edited video of the launch, produced by the talented Topher Field.

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