Section: Economics

  • ECONOMICS

    Climate change trillions

    • David James
    • 08 November 2021

    The Glasgow United Nations Climate Change Conference has been advertised as an effort to focus on sustainable environmental solutions. What got much less attention, if any, is that it is probably at least as much about having a sustainable financial system. Many noted that China, did not send its leader: Xi Jinping, president of the world’s greatest CO2 emitter. There was also another significant absence: the financiers who are hoping to profit from the trillions allocated into climate change projects.

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  • ECONOMICS

    A strange financial circus

    • David James
    • 12 October 2021
    3 Comments

    Over the last two years, money printing has created the illusion of strength in savings. But when reality resurfaces, and actual returns are required from actual economic and business activity, the global financial system will come under extreme stress. 

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  • ECONOMICS

    The battle for the future of money

    • David James
    • 07 September 2021
    4 Comments

    There is a three-way battle looming over the future of money and the stakes could scarcely be higher. Conventional money, mainly debt created by banks — the ‘folding stuff’ is only a tiny proportion of the total — is in trouble. Total global debt is now so large relative to the world economy it cannot be serviced, which is why monetary authorities have resorted to dropping interest rates. When they almost hit zero, the next step was quantitative easing (QE): printing money by getting the central bank to buy back government and corporate bonds and putting them on its ‘balance sheet’. 

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  • ECONOMICS

    Labor’s embrace of Liberal tax policies leaves poor worse off

    • Chris Smith
    • 31 August 2021
    11 Comments

    In July, Anthony Albanese announced a significant change of stance on Labor tax policy which was disappointing, if not surprising. An elected Labor government, Albanese promised, would keep the coming high income tax cuts he previously opposed. This decision to not oppose the government proposal to restructure the income tax system through reduced marginal rates is supporting a government policy that will lead to a significant redistribution of wealth towards high income earners.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Why inflation isn't higher

    • David James
    • 12 August 2021
    4 Comments

    The biggest mystery of the financial markets is why, when the monetary authorities have been printing money with their ears pinned back, is inflation for the most part not a problem? What happens with inflation is crucial to the short-term survival of the whole system. Global debt, which is running at well over 300 per cent of global GDP, is only sustainable because interest rates are exceptionally low (the base rate in Australia is only 0.1 per cent). And interest rates are low because inflation is not a problem.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Homelessness is caused not by poverty but by wealth

    • John Falzon
    • 10 August 2021
    13 Comments

    When you put rising housing costs alongside stagnating wages, an alarming trend in normalising insecure work, persistent unemployment and underemployment, and statutory incomes that are going backwards in real terms, there’s good reason to be deeply worried about an increase in homelessness.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Why corporatism, not capitalism, is the root of social harm

    • David James
    • 06 July 2021
    16 Comments

    There really is no such thing as ‘capitalism’ — or rather there are so many capitalisms that the word is altogether too imprecise to be useful. A much better term to identify the problems, even evils, of modern developed economies is ‘corporatism’. This can be precisely identified and its transgressions and general harm are getting worse.

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  • ECONOMICS

    We need to rebuild our social foundations

    • John Falzon
    • 15 June 2021
    4 Comments

    Our economy is 1.1 per cent larger than a year ago. Yet, as the situation in Victoria reminded us, none of us are safe unless all of us are safe. And we cannot be safe while work remains increasingly insecure, while social security payments are inadequate and while our public infrastructure is found wanting.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Teetering on the financial brink

    • David James
    • 08 June 2021
    4 Comments

    An often overlooked fact about the financial system is that it entirely depends on trust. When trust starts to evaporate, especially between the big players such as banks and insurance companies, the whole artifice is put into peril. Trust in the system is now at an extreme low and that points to extreme danger.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Our economy needs democratic oversight, not the unleashing of animal spirits

    • John Falzon
    • 06 May 2021
    23 Comments

    In a recent speech to business leaders, Prime Minister Morrison made the remarkable claim that ‘we are going to meet our [climate change] ambitions with the smartest minds, the best technology and the animal spirits of capitalism.’ This is straight from the neoliberal playbook, the doxa that the role of government is to get out of the way to make room for those animal spirits so as to pander to the fantasies of the wealthy few.

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  • ECONOMICS

    The economy is never as good as it looks and never as bad as it seems

    • David James
    • 04 May 2021
    2 Comments

    But although the Coalition will never admit it, it looks suspiciously like there has been some bipartisan institutional learning about how to manage financial crises. If you want to stimulate an economy in times of crisis put the money directly into the economy, either into people’s pockets or to businesses who then pass it on to workers.

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  • ECONOMICS

    When economic policy transcends political division

    • David James
    • 08 April 2021
    5 Comments

    It is one of the ironies of Australian political history that a policy that has profoundly benefited this country’s version of capitalism came, not from the right, but from the Labor party and unions. The mandating of superannuation payments in 1992 under the Keating government has profoundly changed Australia’s financial system.

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