Author: David James

  • 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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  • ECONOMICS

    Who will feel better after Medibank privatisation?

    • David James
    • 13 October 2014
    7 Comments

    Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann announced 'the scoping study found no evidence that premiums would increase as a result of the sale' of Medibank Private. But the sale is being presented as a way to make the fund more efficient. If successful, Medibank Private will become even more dominant than it is at present and there will be pressure to raise premiums to achieve its purpose of keeping shareholders happy.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Australia's delayed GFC

    • David James
    • 08 September 2014
    7 Comments

    What is only now starting to come into focus is the extent to which the whole economy is in hock to house prices. A sharp fall in the housing market will put intense pressure on our major lending institutions, leading to a deeply depressing effect on all parts of the economy. The regulators, as ever, are taking a hands-off approach.

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  • ECONOMICS

    SMSFs offer 'pension fund socialism'

    • David James
    • 13 August 2014
    1 Comment

    In 1976 management thinker Peter Drucker said the real owners of the stock market were workers, through their pension funds. A similar broadening of ownership has occurred in Australia since the creation of compulsory superannuation. But intermediaries called fund managers still stood between the people and ultimate control of their financial destiny, until the rise of the Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF).

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  • ECONOMICS

    Commbank plunder part of new world economic order

    • David James
    • 07 July 2014
    7 Comments

    As the Pope and economist Thomas Pikkety have observed in recent times, the inequity created by capitalism is a growing concern. But the problem with this argument is that 'capitalism' is too broad a term. The attack would be far better directed against the financialisation of developed economies. A new type of sovereign has emerged, and like all rulers they are cheerfully engaging in acts of plunder.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Blessed are the moneymakers

    • David James
    • 16 May 2014
    9 Comments

    The 2014 Federal Budget has created a new hierarchy of virtue in Australian society, with well off investors deemed to be good and the disadvantaged bad. It is not so much class war as a war between capital and the rest of society. Those wielding significant capital are useful, while those who can save little, and have little to invest, are considered a burden.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Abbott and Hockey more Prince John than Robin Hood

    • David James
    • 05 May 2014
    11 Comments

    In politics, one should never opt for a balanced and thoughtful description of the truth when wild exaggerations will do. Especially when you want to take from the poor and give to, if not exactly the rich, at least the investor class. The dire pronouncements from the Abbott Government in response to the Commission of Audit's 86 recommendations reflect not only the PM's relentless negativity, but also more than a whiff of class war.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Financial advisers can be more than bookies

    • David James
    • 26 March 2014
    6 Comments

    Removing the requirement that financial advisers act in the best interest of their clients will reveal financial advisers for what they really are: salespeople for the banks' wealth management platforms. Tony Abbott argues that the changes will remove 'red tape' and declaimed: 'We're creating the biggest bonfire of regulations in our country's history.' This is a duplicitous use of language that misunderstands how the finance sector works.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Unwinding the Coalition's economic pantomime

    • David James
    • 12 March 2014
    10 Comments

    Economics is full of circular arguments. The Government is on the one hand arguing — most notably with the SPC Ardmona case, the exit of the car manufacturers and Qantas — that it will not get involved in supporting Australia's industry base. But then it argues that its policies will boost Australia's industry base. Lower unemployment will inevitably follow. For the first time ever it is apparently possible to have it both ways.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Deciphering capitalism's corrupt metaphors

    • David James
    • 07 February 2014
    15 Comments

    'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others'. This was George Orwell's parody in Animal Farm of the vicious use of language in communist states. It was one of his memorable depictions of how the absurdities of language not only reflect evil, but also predicate it. Language was a tool of oppression in communist states. In capitalism it is no less vicious.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Supermarket self-regulation is a joke

    • David James
    • 10 December 2013
    15 Comments

    It is hard not to smile over Woolworths' and Coles' 'voluntary' adoption of a code of conduct. Now that the duopoly has decided to mend its ways, it seems it can occupy the moral high ground and preach to everyone else. The Western world has been subject to a quarter of a century of propaganda about the virtues of deregulation. A closer consideration of the supermarket giants' promise to do the right thing offers little reason for confidence.

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