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Negative gearing is the end of the Australian Dream

27 April 2016 | Kate Galloway

Greg Foyster cartoon shows cross-stich house and motto Tax Break Sweet Tax BreakHistorically, having a largely home-owning population has ensured both the social benefit of housing, and an economic benefit through enforced saving with long-term growth. In contrast, the negative gearing push splits the cultural and economic meaning of home ownership, because it focuses on investment. Negative gearing promotes property ownership but not home ownership. Thus the social benefits of home ownership that we have come to expect give way to bare economic indicators.

Serfs sucked dry in the kingdom of banks

17 April 2016 | David James

Banker parasites sucking the world dry. By Chris JohnstonThree finance-related events are currently gaining great attention in the media. One is the so-called Panama Papers. Another is the proposal to have a royal commission into the banks. And a third is the furore over the unaffordability of homes and the debate over negative gearing. On the surface they would seem to be quite separate issues. But all three issues demonstrate yet again that banks are, if not the most malign organisations on the planet, then certainly among the most dangerous.

Labor's negative gearing heroics alone won't save us

25 February 2016 | David James

Between Debt and the Devil: Money, Credit, and Fixing Global Finance by Adair TurnerIt is not often that federal political parties exhibit courage. Labor's decision to change the rules on negative gearing is a rare instance. It targets what is most dangerous and unfair in our financial system. Expect howls of protests from powerful lobby groups if it ever looks like becoming policy. But these changes alone won't be enough to deal with the ills of the financial system. While they are designed to target the bias away from productive investment, they won't remove the attraction towards property.

Consequences loom for global debt binge

18 January 2016 | David James

Janet YellenLow interest rates tend to change the understanding of risk; having high debt seems to be less of a problem because the cost of servicing it is lower. This cavalier attitude has been especially evident in Australian households, which have racked up more debt relative to the size of the economy than any other country in the world. The massive appetite for debt has been replicated across the globe. The world may have survived the era of casino money - just - but it is now facing another crisis.

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

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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.

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