Search Results: David James

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  • ECONOMICS

    The bad business of privatisation

    • David James
    • 12 September 2016
    18 Comments

    The argument that putting government operations into private hands ensures that things will run better and society will benefit is not merely a stretch; it is in many respects patently false. The argument is based on the claim that the market always produces superior price signals. Yet one area where private enterprise definitely fails is long term stability. If there is an expectation that a privatised service should last in the long term, and usually there is, then selling it to business is a bad choice.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The merits of Trump's economic agenda

    • David James
    • 08 August 2016
    15 Comments

    The main legislative catalyst for the GFC was the repeal, in 1999 by Bill Clinton, of the Glass Steagall Act, which had prohibited commercial banks from engaging in the investment business. This allowed the investment banks to indulge in the debauch of financial invention that almost destroyed the world's monetary system. Trump has made the reinstatement of Glass Steagall official policy. Should that happen, it could be the most beneficial development in the global financial system for decades.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Alfred Hitchcock's Catholic guilt

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 04 August 2016

    The interviewees regard Vertigo with awe, waxing lyrical about its psychosexual subtext; but not a word is said about the inherent misogyny of a film that is explicitly about a man's objectification of a woman. The film's most interesting segment however concerns the pre-eminence of guilt in Hitchcock's films, and the role it plays in shaping human activity. This, says Martin Scorsese (a filmmaker similarly preoccupied with guilt and sin), may define Hitchcock as an essentially Catholic filmmaker.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Beyond Brexit doomsday myths

    • David James
    • 27 June 2016
    15 Comments

    Had Greece decided to exit the EU last year the consequences would have been far greater than Brexit, because Greece uses the euro, whereas Britain has the pound. British interest rates are not set in Brussels, they are set by the Bank of England. And it has an independent fiscal and budgetary system, to the extent that it is possible. The British government has been imposing 'austerity' measures because it subscribes to neoliberal orthodoxy, not because it is being told to do so by Brussels or Germany.

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  • ECONOMICS

    How financial markets are stymying climate action

    • David James
    • 14 June 2016
    7 Comments

    There is little doubt that the means to dramatically reduce the amount of pollution produced by developed economies is already theoretically available. It is perfectly possible to redesign industrial systems so that they do not pollute and do not consume finite resources at a rate that is unsustainable. But it requires a radical shift - and the biggest barrier to that shift occurring, the financial markets, is barely even mentioned in discussions of the challenge.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Serfs sucked dry in the kingdom of banks

    • David James
    • 17 April 2016
    11 Comments

    Three finance-related events are currently gaining great attention in the media. One is the so-called Panama Papers. Another is the proposal to have a royal commission into the banks. And a third is the furore over the unaffordability of homes and the debate over negative gearing. On the surface they would seem to be quite separate issues. But all three issues demonstrate yet again that banks are, if not the most malign organisations on the planet, then certainly among the most dangerous.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious thought in sacred secular Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 March 2016
    6 Comments

    I offer no public judgment of Pell, and unlike many other commentators I'll await the findings of the royal commission. I have however been outspoken about his right to a fair hearing and natural justice, not because I am a priest but because I am a human rights lawyer who cares about the universal application of the rule of law. It is when a representative of institutional religion like Pell taps into the generic religious sensibility or moral consciousness that the real work of Australian religious thought is done.

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  • MEDIA

    CommInsure exposé proves spin doesn't always win

    • David James
    • 15 March 2016
    7 Comments

    Most spin doctors are either former journalists, who have personal experience in how the industry works. If a story appears in the media, it is more often than not because some spin merchants want it to be there. Happily, there are exceptions. Gold Walkley winner Adele Ferguson did a brilliant exposé of the insurance industry that was definitely not on any spin doctor's agenda. Indeed it was a demonstration that spin has its limitations if the journalist is skilled enough to get beyond the wall.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Labor's negative gearing heroics alone won't save us

    • David James
    • 25 February 2016
    8 Comments

    It is not often that federal political parties exhibit courage. Labor's decision to change the rules on negative gearing is a rare instance. It targets what is most dangerous and unfair in our financial system. Expect howls of protests from powerful lobby groups if it ever looks like becoming policy. But these changes alone won't be enough to deal with the ills of the financial system. While they are designed to target the bias away from productive investment, they won't remove the attraction towards property.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Consequences loom for global debt binge

    • David James
    • 18 January 2016
    11 Comments

    Low interest rates tend to change the understanding of risk; having high debt seems to be less of a problem because the cost of servicing it is lower. This cavalier attitude has been especially evident in Australian households, which have racked up more debt relative to the size of the economy than any other country in the world. The massive appetite for debt has been replicated across the globe. The world may have survived the era of casino money - just - but it is now facing another crisis.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Ten films that got us thinking in 2015

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 16 December 2015
    2 Comments

    From the drama-filled mind of a pre-teen girl to the homes of former Indonesian death-squad members; from a day in the life of a transgender sex-worker to a grim and sublime new rendition of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays; from one actor's immense ego to another's fading relevance to an allegedly doomed writer's captivating self-effacement, Eureka Street's resident film buff Tim Kroenert revisits the characters and themes of some of the best and most conversation-worthy films of 2015.

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  • ECONOMICS

    New world order of gas and finance

    • David James
    • 14 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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