The recent election in Greece which resulted in the Syriza Party being swept into power has once again put the spotlight on the struggling Eurozone. In isolation, the election of a left wing anti-austerity party in Greece would appear to be no more than a nuisance for markets beyond Europe. But I believe that there is a lot more at stake than just simply a stand-off between the new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the ECB, IMF and EU which are collectively known as the Troika creditors.
Entries Categorised as 'Opinion'
May 28th, 2014 · 15 Comments
It’s has taken me a while to put some thoughts down about the 2104 Australian Federal Budget simply because I am suffering from budget fatigue. Maybe the rot set in when Kevin Rudd & Wayne Swan were prancing around during the GFC talking about a national economic emergency. Or perhaps it was just years of Swan delivering budgets which had little connection with reality, with himself and Ken Henry both off in some parallel universe. In any case, when Tony Abbott and Smokin’ Joe Hockey rolled out the budget emergency theme the fatigue really set in.
August 23rd, 2013 · 3 Comments
Australians used to call themselves “the lucky country,” after the title of a 1960s’ best-seller saying how farming wealth had allowed Australia to create a stable, prosperous and fairly egalitarian society. But today’s minerals wealth seems to have worked in reverse, to create a nation prone to quick fixes, whimsical political changes, flip-flop foreign policies and crazy economic strategies. From the sober lucky country we move to the feckless happy-go-lucky country.
February 1st, 2013 · 4 Comments
With Japan’s stock market surging even before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled his plans for economic stimulus, we would have expected the usual anti-stimulus critics to be silent, at least for a while. But no. Already we hear the usual complaints — more printing of money, more public debt, more baramake (waste) and so on.
August 30th, 2012 · 9 Comments
Do Europe’s budget-cutting austerity-minded planners understand simple math? They say they have to embrace austerity policies to reduce excessive national debt. But those policies inevitably cut tax revenues more than they cut spending. National debt increases rather than decreases. Worse, recovery from the economic downturns they create then forces them to ease the original spending cuts. So the national debt situation gets even worse. Japan during its two decades of economic stagnation was the poster-child model for this economic folly in action.
May 16th, 2012 · No Comments
The better U.S. media now use fact-checkers and truth meters to debunk outrageous claims by politicians. Maybe Japan should do the same toward its critics. High on the truth-meter treatment list would be the never-ending claims that Japan is a racist society. One of the more egregious was the claim by the Dutch journalist, Karel van Wolferen, who once wrote that special schools existed to make sure that returnee children be “re-molded” into good, obedient Japanese.
April 25th, 2012 · 37 Comments
Foolishly during Kevin Rudd’s Australia 2020 Summit a few years ago I thought that the political circus in Canberra couldn’t get any more ridiculous. Sadly I was wrong. The Gillard led government is now doing its very best to destroy what little respect the public have left for politicians and Wayne Swan is sure to produce another work of economic & finance fiction – the 2012 Federal Budget.
March 12th, 2012 · 23 Comments
According to many experts, Australia is in the midst of a mining boom and the government often tells us that the Australian economy is performing better than most if not all, of the world’s major developed economies. Certainly the commodities boom has delivered record profits for many companies, generated massive tax revenues for the federal and state governments plus created many thousands of jobs.
February 17th, 2012 · 16 Comments
Today’s lecture is on the sorry state of that dismal science called economics. Hands up, economists who foresaw the Lehman collapse in the United States. OK, I see a few hands out there. Now hands up, those who also foresaw the eurozone crisis? Not so many, it seems.
January 11th, 2012 · 1 Comment
Scenes of Pyongyang citizens wailing the death of “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il remind us how easily dictatorships can manipulate public opinion. But are the rest of us so immune to similar manipulation?
September 13th, 2011 · 28 Comments
A sure sign that an economic trend has been established is when the OECD finally jumps on the trend bandwagon and recently the OECD has joined the group of recently converted economic pessimists. Gone are the days when big borrowing, big spending governments would save the day – the theme of the day now is hang onto your hats because we might be in for a bumpy ride.
August 24th, 2011 · 19 Comments
Over the last few months media commentary regarding the Australian economy has turned decidedly gloomy. The wonders of the mining boom are now being questioned, the U.S. and European economies matter again and people are starting to wake up to the reality that an economic strategy that basically relies on China dragging Australia along for the ride might not be that clever.
August 5th, 2011 · 69 Comments
As I write today the Australian stock market has slumped around -4% so far after the Dow Jones fell -4.3% and markets in Europe also ended sharply lower. As per usual, many finance journalists are hurriedly pumping out scary stories and dramatic headlines to gain readers attention so it’s time to grab a cup of coffee, relax and focus on the facts.
July 6th, 2011 · 24 Comments
As each week passes the moans of struggling businesses grow louder and finally it appears that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) board members have woken up to the fact that the economy has been sliding backwards since late 2010. Once again the RBA had made a tactical blunder and raised rates too high just as they did as the global financial crisis was unfolding back in late 2007.
June 27th, 2011 · 116 Comments
Over the last few years I have watched the debate about global warming descend into a political and celebrity ego-fuelled circus event where hard science plays merely a supporting role. It’s not clear what such measures as a carbon tax will even achieve on a global scale besides generating tax revenues for governments and making plenty of bankers happy. Meanwhile millions of people die from hunger and disease every year and there is no tax being implemented to help them.
June 20th, 2011 · 14 Comments
On a daily basis, dozens of finance and business journalists try to convince the general public that they somehow have an insight into what the Australian economy is doing or how the economy will fare over the next six months or so. But the truth is, nobody has a clue what will happen for the rest of this year as we are still stuck in the Economic Twilight Zone.