Author: David James

  • 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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  • ECONOMICS

    Australia's Noah's Ark economy

    • David James
    • 05 November 2013
    2 Comments

    Australia is very much the 'Noah's Ark' economy: two of everything. Consider the spate of industry sectors in which only two companies dominate: airlines (Virgin and Qantas); paper and packaging (Visy and Amcor); print media (News Corporation and Fairfax). The Federal Government's announcement that it will be launching a 'root and branch' review of Australia's competition law will, at the very least, make for a fascinating spectacle.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Dollar bulletproofs US economy

    • David James
    • 04 October 2013
    1 Comment

    America is fond of claiming exceptionalism, which is usually little more than an indication of its attitude to moral accountability. But in one area America definitely is exceptional: the global currency markets. There is no risk of the market for American dollars drying up, which means that a default by the American government is, while significant, not especially relevant to what happens with the global trade in US dollars.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Life and death issues the election campaign missed

    • David James
    • 06 September 2013
    4 Comments

    Two of the most important issues to have been given scant attention in the election campaign are ageing and property. Even less noticed is the inter-relationship between the two. The effect of ageing on property prices will be arguably the most important financial challenge facing Australian governments over the coming decades.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Boost budget by chopping charities' tax take

    • David James
    • 27 August 2013
    3 Comments

    Australia is one of only a few countries in the world that has a franking credit system. Though it is designed to stop 'double taxation' on company tax, in many cases it ends up being a 'double reward' for entities that already have tax favoured status. Last year the Tax Commissioner generously refunded over $500 million to charities and not-for-profits on dividends because they pay no tax.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Which party really has the economic smarts?

    • David James
    • 13 August 2013
    3 Comments

    As the China boom fades Australia is experiencing a delayed version of the GFC, without the banking crisis. Until now we've been reasonably well served by both sides of politics, in terms of macro-economic strategy. Now we require a way of dealing with more mundane economic issues like productivity and efficiency. Neither side has many good ideas about how to achieve the required structural shifts.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Aussie dollar falls to fast money folly

    • David James
    • 03 July 2013
    4 Comments

    A currency's value is supposed to represent the state of the country's underlying economy. Yet very little changed about the Australian economy during a week in which the value of the dollar was substantially altered. It is a small instance of how rapidly change occurs in currency markets, sometimes to devastating effect, and another reason why the capital markets are ruling rather than serving.

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  • ECONOMICS

    How financial devils came to rule the universe

    • David James
    • 05 June 2013
    7 Comments

    Religious authorities may not spend a lot of time pondering the nature of global financial systems, but the Pope's recent comment that 'money has to serve, not rule' suggests it can be useful when they do. Given scope to become rule makers, rather than just people who know how to exploit the rules, financiers have moved themselves to a position of mastery.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Banksters' deadly game of Sheldon's three-person chess

    • David James
    • 01 May 2013
    3 Comments

    In The Big Bang Theory Sheldon invents a game of chess which 'utilises a three-sided board with transitional quadrilateral-to-triangular tessellation to solve the balanced centre combat-area problem'. This gobbledegook sounds suspiciously similar to the application of mathematical models to financial securities in derivatives markets.

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  • ECONOMICS

    The truth about middle class welfare

    • David James
    • 09 April 2013
    5 Comments

    Commentary on the proposed changes to tax on super has created the impression that the truly needy will miss out on extra cash as politicians pander to middle class voters. This is almost entirely false. In terms of where tax dollars are allocated, Australia has definitely concentrated on lower class welfare.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Big business twists tax truth

    • David James
    • 27 March 2013
    2 Comments

    Australia's business lobbies are fond of complaining that company tax is too high. Lower it, they argue, and the economy would become more dynamic and everyone would benefit. The reality isn't that simple. The combination of Australia's dividend imputation system and the compulsory super scheme greatly benefit Australia's big companies.

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