ECONOMICS


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Commbank plunder part of new world economic order

7 Comments
06 July 2014 | David James

Commbank logoAs 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.


Super's evil empire on shaky ground

15 Comments
10 June 2014 | Brian Toohey

Angry piggy bankThe 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.


Blessed are the moneymakers

9 Comments
15 May 2014 | David James

Sad piggy bankThe 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.


Whose liberty matters as Dickensian budget looms?

16 Comments
06 May 2014 | Fatima Measham

Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the 21st CenturyFrench 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.


Abbott and Hockey more Prince John than Robin Hood

11 Comments
04 May 2014 | David James

Prince John from Disney's Robin HoodIn 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.


Financial advisers can be more than bookies

6 Comments
25 March 2014 | David James

Man in suit holds up blank business cardRemoving the requirement that financial advisers act in the best interest of their clients will reveal financial advisers for what they really are: salespeople for the banks' wealth management platforms. Tony Abbott argues that the changes will remove 'red tape' and declaimed: 'We're creating the biggest bonfire of regulations in our country's history.' This is a duplicitous use of language that misunderstands how the finance sector works.


Unwinding the Coalition's economic pantomime

10 Comments
11 March 2014 | David James

Theatrical masksEconomics is full of circular arguments. The Government is on the one hand arguing — most notably with the SPC Ardmona case, the exit of the car manufacturers and Qantas — that it will not get involved in supporting Australia's industry base. But then it argues that its policies will boost Australia's industry base. Lower unemployment will inevitably follow. For the first time ever it is apparently possible to have it both ways.


Deciphering capitalism's corrupt metaphors

15 Comments
06 February 2014 | David James

Angry looking pigs sit at typewriters in an animated adaptation of George Orwell's 'Animal Farm''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.


Don't rob the poor to pay the rich

14 Comments
03 February 2014 | Bruce Duncan

Piggy banks look frightened at the sight of one of their peers lying shattered and empty on the groundThe 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.


Supermarket self-regulation is a joke

15 Comments
09 December 2013 | David James

Woolworths and Coles logos side by sideIt 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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