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Category Archives: Economy
Despite the evidence of the last few decades that ‘trickle-down’ economics doesn’t work, big business and its apologists in the media are calling for a company tax cut to stimulate investment. The reality, however, is that increased investment is principally … Continue reading
A streak of idealism runs across the pages of Pearls and Irritations. That is good. Political comment without idealism is mere gossip but what are the chances of fulfilling ideals in the real world?
Competition is a means of encouraging innovation and productivity, and bringing those benefits to the community. When it becomes an end in itself, however, it can impose costs on us all.
A two-paragraph story under the heading “Gold hike dead” on page 24 of the West Australian newspaper, Friday 13 October, ended the latest chapter in the one-sided battle between Australian governments and the mining industry. The miners won again.
“The rich are different from you and me” the saying goes. “They have more money“. But that’s not the only way they are different. In the updated Financial Review Rich List released on Friday, 45 of the richest 50 Australians are men. And they are … Continue reading
According to the Productivity Commission’s draft report on National Water Reform, Australia is now viewed internationally as a world leader in water management. Nevertheless, these reforms continue to be challenged by special interests. In particular, the history of poor investment … Continue reading
There was a recent flurry of media excitement about a supposed “secret hospital funding plan”, which turned out to be no more than an option under consideration by a think-tank. But the real (and overlooked) issue in health funding is … Continue reading
Arguments around climate change and other environmental matters tend to assume some tradeoff between “economic” and “environmental” objectives. But the overriding principle is about making the best use of scarce resources.
Australia is spoiled for choice among the array of energies we have to power our future, for centuries to come. Concentrated sunlight, huge reserves of coal, gas, hot rocks, wind, wave and tidal energy, not to mention uranium, thorium, biomass, … Continue reading
Many public debates are framed in terms of compromises or balances between “economic” and “social” objectives. Such ordering is confused: economic policies are meaningless unless they serve social ends.
Changes in inequality and in the relationship between wages and productivity help explain the poor economic performance of many advanced economies in this century. Interestingly the Governor of the Reserve Bank indicated that Australia might be facing the same risks … Continue reading
We tend to think of a “left” seeking bigger government and the “right” seeking smaller government. But such a framework can see governments simultaneously neglecting important areas while interfering where they shouldn’t.
If the RAN holds firm to the concept offered by DCNS it will acquire an orphan no other Navy will contemplate commissioning into service. It will own a submarines that will be expensive to build, expensive to maintain and expensive … Continue reading
CHRIS SHEIL AND FRANK STILLWELL. Bad data collection means we don’t know how much the middle class is being squeezed by the wealthy
There is a glaring need to reform Australia’s archaic wealth inequality statistics to make them commensurate with international practice.
Ross Gittins says that we would be mugs to panic and cut our company tax rate. In his book review of Polanyi’s A Life on the Left in the New York Review of Books, Robert Kuttner argues that ‘Democracy cannot survive an … Continue reading
JERRY ROBERTS. Neoliberalism, Neoclassical Economics, Twinkle-toes Turnbull and a New Year’s Resolution
We have put the gender issue to bed. The priests have had their five years of infamy. The electors of New England and Bennelong have told the High Court where to stick the dual citizenship clause. Is there an opening … Continue reading
There are important lessons to be learnt from the latest news about where our strong growth in employment is coming from. But if we listen to the nostrums of the Smaller Government brigade, we’ll get them exactly wrong.
This Mid-Year review of the economic and fiscal outlook contains no new surprises. However, the balance of risks is that the outcomes will be worse than predicted. Clearly on the Government’s own projections, the nation cannot afford income tax cuts … Continue reading
In case you missed Geraldine Doogue last week on Saturday Extra, she conducted three thought-provoking interviews. First was Professor Julian Le Grand of the London School of Economics, on the possibilities of employee-led mutuals contracting to the public sector. Then … Continue reading
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has chosen to close the year in much the same way as he started it on climate and energy policy: awaiting yet another review, and parroting the ever more absurd claims of the fossil fuel lobby … Continue reading
The Productivity Commission’s findings regarding the effectiveness of Australia’s public services reflect the findings of many previous reviews. Fundamentally a change of culture is needed in favour of well-calculated risk taking and, I would add, greater independence based on the … Continue reading
This article, the first of two which discuss the Productivity Commission’s recommendations for more effective government, focuses on how to improve Commonwealth-State relations, and fiscal disciplines and accountability. The conclusion is that the Commission’s recommendations are for the most part … Continue reading
The appointment of Gary Johns last week as director of the regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), has created incredulous disbelief and concern amongst NGO leaders. For decades, Johns has been proactive in criticising the public advocacy of … Continue reading
The usual culprits are at play. Zero tax on $2.9 billion in revenue from Rupert Murdoch’s News Australia Holdings, not a zack from Wall Street’s cuff-linked freebooters Goldman Sachs for the third year on the trot, same deal for brewing … Continue reading
KATHARINE BETTS AND BOB BIRRELL. How do Australian voters’ view the level of immigration? TAPRI and Scanlon compared
There has been growing controversy about Australia’s level of overseas immigration. In the year to March 2017 Australia’s population is estimated to have grown by a massive 389,100, some 231,000, or 60 per cent of which was due to net … Continue reading
In Part 1 of this series, posted yesterday, the conclusion was that restoration of a sustained Budget surplus would require a combination of expenditure cuts and tax increases. This second Part 2 finds that the projected swing from Budget deficit … Continue reading
The royal commission into the finance sector is more about detecting “misconduct” in individual institutions than exposing the ways in which the sector has misallocated investment funding and caused other economic distortions.
The evidence suggests that Malcolm Turnbull just doesn’t have the fiscal room to responsibly offer income tax cuts, which means it was very irresponsible to raise expectations in this way. Part 1 in this series of two articles examines … Continue reading
What will it take to develop a new economy in Australia that seriously addresses the problems of human inequality and environmental degradation? What is required to place radical economic reform properly on the Australian political agenda?