Author: David James

  • ECONOMICS

    New world order of gas and finance

    • David James
    • 15 December 2015
    3 Comments

    In the early 1990s, America, Europe and Japan accounted for about 90 per cent of world GDP. Now, they account for less than half. The BRICs and other developing nations have grown steadily (in China's case spectacularly) while Europe has stagnated and America has sputtered at best. Recent developments in the geopolitics of fossil fuels and in finance confirm the perception that the rise of China and the developing world spells the end of US global hegemony. Against this backdrop, the narrative of the West has grown increasingly incoherent.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Political roadblocks to Sydney's electricity evolution

    • David James
    • 05 November 2015
    2 Comments

    In the early 1990s London engineer Allan Jones took the suburb of Woking off the grid by establishing a system of tri-generation, which reduces waste by generating power locally. The Sydney City Council employed Jones in 2009 to bring the same approach to Australia. But regulations from previous eras that greatly favour the incumbent power companies are preventing any meaningful change. Once again we find that the main challenges with tackling global pollution are not technical, but political.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Rising from the ashes of bad media business

    • David James
    • 19 October 2015
    7 Comments

    For those who believe, as G. K. Chesterton quipped, that the popular press is 'a conspiracy of a very few millionaires', the decline of mainstream media may not seem such a great loss. But the thinning of journalistic ranks is not good for democracy. In the world of business, old habits usually do not die at all — it is rather the businesses themselves that experience terminal decline. What journalism that does emerge from the ashes of the existing mainstream media businesses will be very different.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Chinese economy a work in progress

    • David James
    • 14 September 2015
    1 Comment

    The recent ructions in the Chinese stock market set off great consternation in global financial markets, but for the most part this was a display of ignorance. One of the reasons China’s influence on global markets has been so beneficial, since at least 2007, is that its economy and financial markets are so different.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Rich retirees may need the aged pension

    • David James
    • 31 July 2015
    6 Comments

    There has been great pressure on both of the major political parties to stop giving so-called rich retirees partial pension income. The conventional view has become that retired millionaires should not be feeding off the public teat. But in terms of income, many of those 'rich retirees' would actually be better off on the pension.

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  • ECONOMICS

    The IMF has failed Greece

    • David James
    • 01 July 2015
    6 Comments

    International Monetary Fund prescriptions have a long history of failing, and countries that ignore them are often the ones that do surprisingly well. Few have been asked to be more servile than the Greeks. When the IMF came in with what is amusingly referred to as its austerity 'plan', the Greek economy was expected to grow at over 2 per cent. After the 'plan' had taken effect, the country’s economy had shrunk by a quarter.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Management thinking in schools is a bad business

    • David James
    • 09 June 2015
    19 Comments

    Allowing such a flimsy discipline as management to co-opt an area as important as education, as appears to be the trend, is as absurd as it is saddening. Education has been with us for thousands of years and encompasses some of the most profound thinking the civilisation has produced. Management thinking has been with us for a few decades and has accomplished next to nothing.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Ukraine conflict heightens global economic split

    • David James
    • 28 April 2015
    2 Comments

    The conflict in the Ukraine has attracted a great deal of attention for its geo-strategic implications. Less noticed have been the economic implications. The sanctions placed on Russia have forced Russia to become even closer to China, and the alliance between a military superpower and an economic superpower is beginning to split the global economy in two. It may come to represent the biggest geo-economic and geo-political shift of the first half of this century, defining much of the future landscape.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Joe Hockey's crystal ball

    • David James
    • 06 March 2015
    8 Comments

    The 2015 Intergenerational Report is reminiscent of a comment by that great 20th century philosopher and baseball player Yogi Berra: 'It’s tough to make predictions – especially about the future.' Many economic commentators have pointed out, rightly enough, that Treasury cannot even get its one year predictions right. Nevertheless, it is worth looking at how the 40 year forecasts are constructed to see the kind of thinking involved.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Oil and gas redraw world strategic alliance map

    • David James
    • 16 February 2015
    3 Comments

    Sanctions against Russia have pushed Russia and China much closer together. Russia is set to provide two fifths of China’s gas needs after the completion of two massive pipelines. This will easily replace what they have lost in supplying Europe and deliver what the Chinese most crave: security of supply. Meanwhile, Russia has cut off 60 per cent of its supplies of gas into Europe, re-routing it to Turkey, and saying that Europe will have to build its own infrastructure to transport it to the Continent.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Hapless Joe Hockey

    • David James
    • 10 December 2014
    12 Comments

    One of the fascinating aspects of Australia's political pantomime is the manner in which the Federal Treasurer is forced to metamorphose into a used car salesman who is spruiking the Australian economy. One reason for the relative impotence of the Treasurer is that the Federal government only has control over fiscal policy. Monetary policy, the interest rate, is set by the Reserve Bank, not the government.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Why the rich are getting richer

    • David James
    • 19 November 2014
    6 Comments

    Investing capital in the production of goods and services may create jobs, but it's not the best way to make money. It's more profitable to manipulate the financial system to create more money from money, which is why the finance sector does so well. The polarisation of wealth is less extreme in Australia, but we have our own capital-driven Ponzi scheme - the residential property market, which has become an exercise in making money out of money. 

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