Before enrolling at London University, Carey had been a sheep farmer for ten years on his family's property near Geraldton in Western Australia. From 1958 until his death, he was a lecturer in psychology at the University of New South Wales. The main subjects of his lectures and research were industrial psychology, industrial relations, and the psychology of nationalism and propaganda. He was one of the founding members of the Australian Humanist Society in 1960. In the 1970s, Carey was prominent in the protest movement against Australian participation in the Vietnam War. He was the father of the noted Australian writer, Gabrielle Carey.
In 1988, Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman published their Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media in dedication to the memory of Carey. Claiming that it was Carey who had inspired their work, Chomsky has said, "The real importance of Carey's work is that it's the first effort, and until now the major effort, to bring some of [the history of corporate propaganda] to public attention. It's had a tremendous influence on the work I've done." Journalist John Pilger has called Carey "a second Orwell in his prophesies".
According to Noam Chomsky, Carey pioneered the study of corporate propaganda. Much of Carey's work in this area remained unpublished and was cut short by his death. In 1995, a collection of his essays (several of them previously unpublished) were published under the title, Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Propaganda in the U.S. and Australia (University of New South Wales Press; reissued in 1997 by University of Illinois Press under the title Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty).
Carey committed suicide in 1987. Members of his family speculated that his reasons included substantial financial losses in the stock market crash of that year and a battle with depression in his final years.
- "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty", University of Illinois Press, 1997.
- "Australian atrocities in Vietnam" (Sydney: Gould, Convenor, Vietnam Action Campaign, 1968).
- "Of professors and 'pacification'" (Kirrawwe, 1968).
- "Reshaping the Truth: Pragmatists and Propagandists in America", Meanjin Quarterly, 35 (4), 1976, pp. 370–378.
- "The Lysenko Syndrome in Western Social Science", Australian Psychologist, Volume 12, Number 1, March 1977, pp. 27–38.
- "The Lysenko Syndrome in Western social science", in Ainsworth, W., Willis, Q. (Eds), Australian Organisational Behaviour, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1981, pp. 212–24.
- "The Ideological Management Industry" at the Wayback Machine (archived August 29, 2007), in Communications and the Media in Australia, E. L. Wheelwright and K. D. Buckley (eds.), Allen and Unwin, 1987, pp. 156–179.
- "Conspiracy Or Groundswell?", In: Ken Coghill, McPhee Gribble (eds.), The New Right's Australian Fantasy, Penguin Books, 1987, pp. 3–19.
- "The Orwell Diversion", Book Sellers Union, Undated.
- "Corporations and Propaganda: Managing Public Opinion", 60 page manuscript. Excerpts read as a 2-part 58 minute audio produced by TUC Radio. At TUC Radio Newest Programs Page (accessed Nov 17, 2011) and also archived at A-Infos Radio Project
- Alexander Edward Carey papers, Collection Record Details, State Library of New South Wales, http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=888148 ; service record for Alexander Edward Carey on the World War Two Nominal Roll website, http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/Veteran.aspx?serviceId=A&veteranId=816524
- Ian Edwards, ed., A Humanist View, Angus & Robertson Ltd 1969, p. 12; Andrew Lohrey, in Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty, p. 5
- "Carey, Gabrielle", The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature, William H. Wilde, Joy Hooton, & Barry Andrews, Oxford University Press 1994, Oxford Reference Online, http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t182.e659
- pp. 28-29, Noam Chomsky, Class Warfare, Pluto Press 1996.
- John Pilger, "Let's face it - the state has lost its mind", 16 May 2005, New Statesman, http://www.newstatesman.com/node/150627
- Noam Chomsky The Common Good, Odonian Press 1998, p. 45
- Gabrielle Carey, In My Father's House, Pan Macmillan Australia, 1992.
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