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New world order of gas and finance

14 December 2015 | David James

King Abdul AzizIn the early 1990s, America, Europe and Japan accounted for about 90 per cent of world GDP. Now, they account for less than half. The BRICs and other developing nations have grown steadily (in China's case spectacularly) while Europe has stagnated and America has sputtered at best. Recent developments in the geopolitics of fossil fuels and in finance confirm the perception that the rise of China and the developing world spells the end of US global hegemony. Against this backdrop, the narrative of the West has grown increasingly incoherent.

Rising from the ashes of bad media business

18 October 2015 | David James

AshesFor those who believe, as G. K. Chesterton quipped, that the popular press is 'a conspiracy of a very few millionaires', the decline of mainstream media may not seem such a great loss. But the thinning of journalistic ranks is not good for democracy. In the world of business, old habits usually do not die at all — it is rather the businesses themselves that experience terminal decline. What journalism that does emerge from the ashes of the existing mainstream media businesses will be very different.

Chinese economy a work in progress

1 Comment
13 September 2015 | David James

China stock market decline graphicThe recent ructions in the Chinese stock market set off great consternation in global financial markets, but for the most part this was a display of ignorance. One of the reasons China’s influence on global markets has been so beneficial, since at least 2007, is that its economy and financial markets are so different.

New app will breed capitalists, and that might be a good thing

13 August 2015 | Lucas Smith

Robinhood app on iPhoneG. K. Chesterton said that 'too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists'. In our young century, we have lost capitalists, and wealth has coagulated to a seemingly smaller and smaller number of financiers, oligarchs and corporations. The stock market is where entrenched wealth is kept and made. An industry-shattering share-trading app is set to help deepen our pool of capitalists.

Rich retirees may need the aged pension

30 July 2015 | David James

Chris Johnston artworkThere has been great pressure on both of the major political parties to stop giving so-called rich retirees partial pension income. The conventional view has become that retired millionaires should not be feeding off the public teat. But in terms of income, many of those 'rich retirees' would actually be better off on the pension.

The IMF has failed Greece

30 June 2015 | David James

Christine LagardeInternational Monetary Fund prescriptions have a long history of failing, and countries that ignore them are often the ones that do surprisingly well. Few have been asked to be more servile than the Greeks. When the IMF came in with what is amusingly referred to as its austerity 'plan', the Greek economy was expected to grow at over 2 per cent. After the 'plan' had taken effect, the country’s economy had shrunk by a quarter.

Management thinking in schools is a bad business

08 June 2015 | David James

Social ScienceAllowing 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.

Ukraine conflict heightens global economic split

27 April 2015 | David James

pavement divided by zipperThe 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.

Joe Hockey's crystal ball

05 March 2015 | David James

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.

Oil and gas redraw world strategic alliance map

15 February 2015 | David James

Petrol PumpSanctions 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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