Ian McAuley is a retired lecturer in public finance at the University of Canberra and a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development.
Ian McAuley. Is capitalism redeemable? Part 8: Inequality’s downward economic spiral
Let’s start with what looks like a self-evident proposition. “Countries with right-wing or neoliberal governments spend less on social security than countries with more left-inclined governments.” It’s a proposition university lecturers put to students of public economics, and the smarter students usually recognize that there’s a trick in it. Harvard economists Dani Rodrik and Alberto Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. Is capitalism redeemable? Part 7: Inequality – a shameful waste
“Australia’s program to increase world growth seems to be to cut social security benefits from the poor.” When Geraldine Doogue asked Malcolm Fraser to comment on Abbott’s G20 agenda, that was his summary of the present Government’s economic policy Unfortunately, ministers such as Hockey and Cormann may not understand the sarcasm in his comment, because Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. Is capitalism redeemable? Part 5: When finance goes its own way
One of the world’s most useful social institutions is money, but it’s hard to think of it in its social context. To understand the social value of money, think of a world without money, or a country where, through recklessness the currency has been debased, as happened in the hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic in Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. Is capitalism redeemable? Part 4: Moral conflicts
Luxembourg (more properly the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg) is one of Europe’s smallest sovereign nations, both in population (about the same as Tasmania’s) and area (about one thirtieth of Tasmania’s). Many Australians might have driven right through it, not realizing that in a half hour or so they had crossed a whole nation. If corporate Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. Is capitalism redeemable? Part 3: Why tax avoidance is bad for business
One article of faith in the corporate sector is that low taxes are good for the economy – not only low corporate taxes but also low taxes in general. Echoing this sentiment, Treasurer Hockey and other spokespeople for the Government repeatedly promise to cut taxes. Even suggestions that the GST should be increased are set Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. Is capitalism redeemable? Part 2: Karl Marx’s and Henry Ford’s shared understanding
Karl Marx was the intellectual father of communism, grandson of a rabbi. Henry Ford was the quintessential American industrialist, anti-union and anti-Semitic. They shared one insight, however. They both knew that capitalism could destroy its own markets. A plentiful supply of workers would keep wages low, to the benefit of industrialists. But those same industrialists Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. Is capitalism redeemable? Part 1: From markets to market societies
Republican victories in the US midterm elections have given conservatives a psychological boost, just days before the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (For the record, the 1989 collapse of European communism was a victory for those Germans, Hungarians and others who risked all to stand up against tyranny, but it has Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. A Year Of Tony Abbott.
The Abbott Government was elected one year and one day ago. Ian McAuley celebrates the countless successes that have slipped under the radar. A year into the Abbott Government’s term we can reflect on its impressive economic achievements. The highlight is the repeal of the carbon tax. It’s easy to stand up against tree huggers Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. Ignored Budget issues.
Lobby groups and community organizations have provided their take on the Budget – some with a “what’s in it for me” approach, others with a more analytical line. My contribution from the stands is to draw attention to a few aspects which aren’t getting a great deal of attention. 1. Pension indexation. I’m surprised that Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. Pay for a GP visit.
The Commission of Audit’s proposal to charge a $5 or $6 fee for “bulk-billed” GP services has little to commend it. But that doesn’t justify knee-jerk outrage from medical and consumer groups, or from the Labor Opposition, for there is no reason why Medicare should not incorporate fixed and limited co-payments. As it stands the Continue reading »
Ian McAuley- Picketty and the gap between rich and poor. Inequality of wealth is the problem rather than the inequality of income.
The Observer/Guardian carried a recent story/review about Thomas Picketty’s address to the Institute of New Economic Thinking in Toronto. The story was headed “Capitalism simply isn’t working and here are the reasons why” The story draws also on a recently published book by the French economist Picketty “Capital in the 21st Century” The newspaper story Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. Inequality in Australia.
A Financial Review article on March 24 claimed “Inequality in Australia has not deteriorated over the last 25 years, according to Reserve Bank of Australia research that undermines claims the gap between rich and poor has worsened” The essence of the argument is that while, between 1993-94 and 2009-10, the distribution of income has become more unequal, Continue reading »
Ian McAuley, Jennifer Doggett and John Menadue. The case for government funding of healthcare.
In our joint submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Abbott Government’s Commission of Audit, we drew attention to the fact that by international comparison, Australia is a low-taxed country. Furthermore, the trend in Commonwealth expenditures has been downwards since the mid-1980s. Our full submission can be found on my website (click above). In that Continue reading »
Ian McAuley. Cutting waste and costs in health.
There are three areas of saving to be made in health care – real savings rather than movement of costs from public budgets to consumers. There can be savings in technical efficiency — savings any engineer or cost-conscious manager seeks in a workplace. A strong example is making better use of information technology. There can Continue reading »
Repost: Health care and the budget deficit in the US. Joint blog John Menadue and Ian McAuley
Repost for holiday reading. The political obstacles to these two major problems for President Obama are real and confusing. But the arithmetic is quite clear. If the US had a health service like those in countries without heavy reliance on private insurance, such as Australia, it could solve its budget deficit problem. Let us explain Continue reading »