Search Results: debt

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Biding time in the anti-establishment era

    • Fatima Measham
    • 02 February 2017
    6 Comments

    It strikes me as odd that we have mostly withstood anti-establishment agitation, as seen in the Philippines and the UK. It is not like our political class have not earned similar scorn. What if the optimism bias that kept most of us from anticipating the results of the Brexit referendum and the US election are now also in play in Australia? How long will current welfare architecture and the incompetence of nativists keep at bay the destabilising forces that have laid America so low?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Australian bureaucratic Mean Virus is epidemic

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 27 January 2017
    23 Comments

    'Take that out of your mouth, I have to touch that,' barked the Border Protection officer, glaring at me. I'd been juggling bags, boarding tickets, and a passenger exit card, so my passport was positioned precariously between my lips. I wondered if there was a class for teaching them how to be that special mix of forcefully domineering and nasty. It's not just at airports that ordinary people are increasingly feeling a sense of helplessness in the face of bureaucratic antagonism.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis and the age of automation

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 20 January 2017
    7 Comments

    Many have called for the automated Centrelink debt collection system to be scrapped, but the government is standing by it. One of the reasons for this may be that the system is doing just what it's designed to do - trying to force people away from welfare reliance by making it more onerous. Pope Francis argues that far from a 'neutral' tool, technology creates a framework which conditions people and limits their possible options along lines dictated by the most economically and politically powerful.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Financial literacy programs need to get real

    • Rachel Kurzyp
    • 16 December 2016
    8 Comments

    Studies have found that in Australia, groups with the poorest financial awareness and skills are those under 25, those with no formal post-secondary education, those on low incomes and working 'blue collar occupations', and women. While it makes sense to provide these groups with financial information on home loans and super, this wouldn't have helped my mother when she had to decide between, say, buying groceries for the week or getting the car serviced.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bond notes bode ill for Zimbabwe's currency calamity

    • Tariro Ndoro
    • 07 December 2016
    2 Comments

    Last week, the much dreaded bond notes were released into the economy, in a move hoped to alleviate the cash crisis. Most citizens are negative about the move, with good reason - the last time Zimbabwe had its own currency was 2009, when inflation was so high the currency had to be dropped to salvage the economy. Most Zimbabweans remember that time well: every other month citizens had to drive to Botswana to put food on the table because the country's own shops were empty.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Left doesn't own the fight against racism

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 15 November 2016
    8 Comments

    Cultural totalitarianism, embodied in Trump in the US and Hanson in Australia, is a major injustice of our age. To fight it effectively, we have to enter into coalitions with those whose opinions we otherwise find distasteful. An anti-racism rally with only leftwing speakers is not going to make as big an impact as one with speakers across the spectrum. To insist the fight against racism is necessarily a leftwing issue is in some ways its own form of cultural bigotry.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Solidarity and self-interest in the future of unionism

    • Tim Lyons
    • 14 November 2016
    7 Comments

    Just as the 'wealth management' industry is based on the lie that anyone can be wealthy if they are prepared to take enough individual risk, the modern lie about work is that your place depends on vicious competition with those around you. This sort of sociopathic individualism denies the collective project, where even the team resembles more a gangster faction than a collective. Success is said to be a function of your own efforts, rendering solidarity not just foreign but inimical to your interests.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    An ode to speechless Bob Dylan

    • Philip Harvey
    • 04 November 2016
    10 Comments

    Initial silence from Dylan after the announcement of his Nobel Prize led one of the Scandinavian officials to complain he was being 'impolite and arrogant'. This prompted even more vitriolic opinion online on all sides, from fans, litterateurs, Dylanologists, and other armchair grenadiers. Just as things were getting completely tangled up in blue Dylan himself broke the silence to explain that news of the award had left him speechless. We shouldn't be surprised. Speechless is a normal state for a poet.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Left shares blame for the rise of the rogues

    • Fatima Measham
    • 16 October 2016
    12 Comments

    Much has been made about how Republicans benefited from the 'birther' campaign and the Tea Party. It suited them to have proxies undermine the executive branch. In other words, the political right only has itself to blame for the nihilism which now engulfs it - and potentially, the nation. But the failures of the left also bear examination. While Clinton's current lead cannot be attributed entirely to her virtues, the polling gap between her and Trump should have been much wider, earlier.

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  • ECONOMICS

    It will take more than a royal commission to tame the banks

    • David James
    • 10 October 2016
    2 Comments

    The strategy of the Big Four banks' appearance in parliament was clear enough. Blame the whole thing on a need to improve impersonal 'processes', imply that there have been a few bad apples but overall things are fine, and promise to do better in the future. The greatest challenge was probably to hide the smirks. A royal commission is being held up as an alternative, and no doubt it would be more effective. But a royal commission would not address the main issue.

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  • ECONOMICS

    The bad business of privatisation

    • David James
    • 13 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    The holy sacrament of coffee communion

    • Barry Gittins
    • 15 August 2016
    12 Comments

    Within the first 20 minutes of my morning, I pay homage to life by partaking in that glorious gift to humanity, coffee. As well as the contested space around coffee's possible physical health benefits and purported dodgy effects, going for a coffee is good for the soul. Humans are social creatures, and coffee lubricates our communing. Over a cuppa I have shared hardships, counselled and been counselled, listened to tales of brokenness and celebrated the wins that punctuate our travails.

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