November, 2009

More, not less, equality needed for economic growth

, Nov 10, 2009

Now the attention of Australian policy-makers is turning to maximising prosperity, understood as GDP growth, over the next few years. The Australian’s Michael Stutchbury says this will require ‘tough-love’ policies. Usually, this is code for giving carrots to the rich and sticks to the poor. Tough for the bottom of society, great for the top, […]

Business needs to keep perspective on social media

, Nov 05, 2009

I had a great time talking to a business group in Sydney today, my theme was that social media is suited in some corporate circumstances and not others. I made the point that there was nothing blue sky or revolutionary about social media and, indeed, it has some real drawbacks for corporates. I made four […]

Economic theory vs. economic history

, Oct 10, 2009

A passionate argument for re-integration (and a longer version here): This is not to say that the macroeconomic model-building of the past generation has been pointless. But I do think that modern macroeconomists need to be rounded up, on pain of loss of tenure, and sent to a year-long boot camp with the assembled monetary […]

Markets are not efficient, says business school academic

, Jun 12, 2009

No kidding, but is this another sign of a post-GFC academic trend. This article from a London Business School professor published by the Harvard Business School caught my attention: The economist Jovanovic wrote, about a quarter of a century ago, “efficient firms grow and survive; inefficient firms decline and fail”. What he meant is that […]

Media response: Wahhhh! I want a recession

, Jun 04, 2009

After all, everyone else has got one mummy. The media is at its rancid worst this morning bemoaning the technical absence of a recession when everyone reeaalllly knows the whole place is f#cked. Ross Gittins defends his right to call it a recession no matter what the data say. Interestingly, a week ago he was […]

A triumph for Australian economic policy makers

, Jun 03, 2009

Today’s news that the Australian economy actually grew during the March quarter is remarkable. Sure we’re not out of the woods yet but the contrast between Australia’s performance and that of much of the rest of the world is notable. It appears that exports and consumer spending have been the main factors in the favourable […]

Using Twitter for business

, May 27, 2009

My buddy, and social media educator extraordinaire, Lee Hopkins has produced a Twitter report and is giving it away for the next 7 days. Says (spuiks?) Lee: But as a loyal and valuable reader of this blog, I’m giving you just 7 days to naba free copy of the Twitter Mastery for Business report as a way of saying “thank […]

What’s Tanner been doing?

, May 22, 2009

Traditionally, the Finance Minister is the tough guy. The Finance Minister is the one that imposes fiscal discipline on his more or less unwilling colleagues all of whom are usually keen to protect their patch and deliver the goodies for their portfolio’s clients. As Peter Walsh (pretty much the creator of the tradition) used to […]

Give me your frugal, your thrifty, your wealthy multitudes yearning to save pennies

, May 21, 2009

As we all know, the media are herd animals and as befits these ‘hard’ times the Columbia Journalism Review has been tracking what it calls the ‘frugality beat’.  We’ve seen a bit of this stuff locally too. For instance, the Gladstone Observer has a useful piece, “Tackle recession blues with books“, the fairfax media recently […]

Ken Henry’s communication problem

, May 20, 2009

Treasury boss says he’s got one. If he does he might want to reflect that arrogance and an extreme sensitivity to criticism are never the foundation for great two-way communication: STEPHEN LONG: For eight years now Ken Henry’s given the post-Budget speech to economists as the head of Treasury and in that time, few Federal […]

How to pitch bloggers – PR gives social marketing advice

, May 18, 2009


The myth of an independent Treasury

, May 16, 2009

The claim that Treasury is an institution independent of government fundamentally misconstrues the relationship between the federal government and the Commonwealth public service.  While it is not surprising to see politicians fail Economics 101, it is more surprising to see them also failing Political Science 101. The government now routinely hides behind Treasury and RBA […]

Australia and the Global Economy – a potted history

, May 09, 2009

On Thursday I gave a lecture to undergraduate and postgraduate foreign policy courses which stressed Australia’s long-term dependence on the global economy. The notes are here. I also recommended to easily accessible sources for anyone wanting to read more: Ian MacFarlane, The Search for Stability, and John Edwards, The Quiet Boom.

Zombie Bank

, May 08, 2009

Night of the living dead tellers.

Can a 70 billion buck deficit be called a “tough” budget?

, May 06, 2009

Next week’s budget will deliver the biggest DEFICIT in Australian history, and yet journalists, particularly those embedded in Parliament House, insist on pushing the Government’s spin about it being ‘tough’. The SMH even runs with ‘horror‘. How the media minders must chortle. Tough is when you deliver a surplus, delivering huge deficits is not tough. […]

The possible economic cost of swine flu

, May 01, 2009

Not as straightforward as you might think, from the Economist: THE scares over bird flu since 1997 and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 have spurred research into the economic costs of pandemics. Studies paint a grim picture of what swine flu could mean for the world economy. For example, World Bank economists estimated […]

Cluetrain stalled at the platform

, Apr 29, 2009

So it’s been ten years. For a few years, I was like a latter day Karl Marx scouring the newspapers looking for evidence that the revolution was underway. Now, I don’t bother anymore. There’s lots of marginal stuff, many organisations that are dipping their toes in the water. But for the most part, like say […]

UK soak the rich tax slug a hit with voters

, Apr 24, 2009

Will Rudd, Swan and co be emboldened by Darling’s popular move? Alistair Darling’s decision to introduce a 50 per cent tax rate for high earners next April is backed by a majority of voters, according to the first post-Budget opinion poll. The Populus survey on Wednesday evening shows broad support for the main Budget measures, […]

The ten dumbest money-saving tips

, Apr 21, 2009

The Times provides an antidote to all those dopey guides for the recession that pop up in the media and in blogs.

Why Australia is not Ireland

, Apr 20, 2009

Paul Krugman has a good piece today on the plight of the Irish economy, it’s headed towards depression. Two reasons (no doubt there are more) why Australia is (not yet) headed that way too is the strong fiscal position and strong banking sector (well-regulated) that was built up in Australia during our recent long boom. […]