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18 November 2014 |
Investing capital in the production of goods and services may create jobs, but it's not the best way to make money. It's more profitable to manipulate the financial system to create more money from money, which is why the finance sector does so well. The polarisation of wealth is less extreme in Australia, but we have our own capital-driven Ponzi scheme - the residential property market, which has become an exercise in making money out of money.
12 October 2014 |
Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann announced 'the scoping study found no evidence that premiums would increase as a result of the sale' of Medibank Private. But the sale is being presented as a way to make the fund more efficient. If successful, Medibank Private will become even more dominant than it is at present and there will be pressure to raise premiums to achieve its purpose of keeping shareholders happy.
09 October 2014 |
Suppressing information can actually damage national security. President Kennedy intervened to get the New York Times to withhold sensitive details from a report about the imminent invasion of Cuba by CIA sponsored exiles in April 1961. Times executives said Kennedy later told them, 'If you had printed more about the [CIA] operation, you would have saved us from a colossal mistake.'
07 September 2014 |
What is only now starting to come into focus is the extent to which the whole economy is in hock to house prices. A sharp fall in the housing market will put intense pressure on our major lending institutions, leading to a deeply depressing effect on all parts of the economy. The regulators, as ever, are taking a hands-off approach.
12 August 2014 |
In 1976 management thinker Peter Drucker said the real owners of the stock market were workers, through their pension funds. A similar broadening of ownership has occurred in Australia since the creation of compulsory superannuation. But intermediaries called fund managers still stood between the people and ultimate control of their financial destiny, until the rise of the Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF).
06 July 2014 |
As the Pope and economist Thomas Pikkety have observed in recent times, the inequity created by capitalism is a growing concern. But the problem with this argument is that 'capitalism' is too broad a term. The attack would be far better directed against the financialisation of developed economies. A new type of sovereign has emerged, and like all rulers they are cheerfully engaging in acts of plunder.
10 June 2014 |
The superannuation industry inhabits a cosseted world in which the money pours in thanks to a combination of government compulsion and tax concessions. The foundations of this empire are criticised for how the tax concessions create an expensive form of upper class welfare, and for the harmful effect of compulsory super's artificial expansion of the finance sector. The Abbott Government shows scant concern about either aspect.
15 May 2014 |
The 2014 Federal Budget has created a new hierarchy of virtue in Australian society, with well off investors deemed to be good and the disadvantaged bad. It is not so much class war as a war between capital and the rest of society. Those wielding significant capital are useful, while those who can save little, and have little to invest, are considered a burden.
06 May 2014 |
French economist Thomas Piketty argues that current conditions have set us on track for a return to 19th century-levels of inequality. The Commission of Audit proposals suggest that the auditors and the Government are keen to expedite this neo-Dickensian era. It's all done in the name of 'incentives' toward 'personal responsibility', but this cannot remain coherent in the face of those who will be hit hard by the proposed suite of cuts and co-payments.
04 May 2014 |
In politics, one should never opt for a balanced and thoughtful description of the truth when wild exaggerations will do. Especially when you want to take from the poor and give to, if not exactly the rich, at least the investor class. The dire pronouncements from the Abbott Government in response to the Commission of Audit's 86 recommendations reflect not only the PM's relentless negativity, but also more than a whiff of class war.
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