Author: David James

  • 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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  • 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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