section: Economics

  • 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

    Don't rob the poor to pay the rich

    • Bruce Duncan
    • 04 February 2014
    14 Comments

    The budget problems are not caused by Newstart or disability pensions, which have been declining as a proportion of economic activity. Had the Howard Government not been so generous with its tax cuts to upper and middle income groups, there would today be no budget deficit.

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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

    Abbott should not punish the ABC

    • Michael Mullins
    • 25 November 2013
    14 Comments

    The prime minister said he 'sincerely regrets any embarrassment that recent media reports have caused' Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Did he mean the media was doing its job and that the embarrassment was collateral damage? Or was he regretting that the media was out of line? Outspoken monarchist Professor David Flint says the government should retaliate against the ABC by reviewing the its overseas broadcasting contract.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Change tax tack to take power back

    • Jean-Paul Gagnon
    • 18 November 2013
    15 Comments

    What if citizens were given the chance to fill out a preference form online as part of their own personal, digital tax portal? You could choose to pick 'below the line' and individually choose what your tax money can and can't be spent on. For example you might like to spend on funding public schools, the bullet train, hospital supplies and museums, and not to spend on nuclear power plants, weapons development, or the automotive industry subsidy.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Business voices competing for Tony Abbott's ear

    • Michael Mullins
    • 18 November 2013
    2 Comments

    Dr Maurice Newman is chairman of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council. It's his job to lobby for big business against, as it happens, the common good. But he is criticised even among some of his peers in the business world, particularly for his unwillingness to accept the need for a reduction in carbon emissions. Does Tony Abbott really listen to 'a range of voices' on business, as he claims?

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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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