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Economy and Globalisation

Submitted by Guest Contributor on November 21, 2008 - 11:03am.
The commodification of child care: ABC Learning
Child care in Australia is in desperate need of an overhaul. The crisis that we are seeing with ABC Learning Centres is simply the tip of the iceberg. For years and years, we have seen the child-care sector in Australia being taken over by profiteers and being seen as an industry. Child care should be seen as an essential service. (Senator Hanson-Young)
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Submitted by David Roffey on November 21, 2008 - 10:44am.
The World in 2025?
The US National Intelligence Center releases its quadrennial scenario for the next twenty years. Grim reading.
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Submitted by David Roffey on November 19, 2008 - 12:18pm.
No earnings, no price
"If you give me $1, I promise to give you 15¢". The SMH can't understand why people aren't taking up this outstanding offer. I think I can ...
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Submitted by Jay Somasundaram on November 16, 2008 - 11:49am.
May we live in interesting times
To achieve change we need to break down existing mental models. We do this by continually challenging existing models, at every opportunity and avenue. The financial crisis provides an opportunity, as people are more amenable to change in an environment of uncertainty. Let’s use it wisely.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on November 15, 2008 - 1:50pm.
Towards a tax and transfer system of human scale
I'm acutely aware of the extraordinary complexity in our system, especially when tax is combined with transfer payments. I can probably take responsibility for some of that complexity. Even so, on reading the Treasury paper, it was a revelation to me that Australia's system now has no fewer than 125 taxes. It turns out that there are more taxes in Australia than there are northern hairy nosed wombats. (Ken Henry)
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Submitted by Richard Tonkin on November 7, 2008 - 3:55am.
Halliburton's Railway Down Under Goes Under
Nestled almost appropriately between a funeral parlour and a railway station, railway consortium Freightlink's office would seem too small a monolith to cast such a shade. However, when you consider who set the company up, who was at its head, and who was behind it, international interest in Freightlink's self-controlled collapse isn't surprising. The answers are: Halliburton, Dick Cheney and Malcolm Kinnaird.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on November 5, 2008 - 9:21pm.
Cheney's Day Is Done
"If Barrack Obama gets up in tomorrow's presidential election Halliburton is likely to come under pressure. The company and the administration have managed to kill a plethora of Federal probes.  Some relate to the well-documented success of Halliburton in winning contracts in Iraq which were not even put to public tender.  Others related to the myriad of corruption allegations. The war in Iraq has largely been outsourced, privatised if you like, and Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg Brown Root, have been the greatest beneficiaries in dollar terms."  -Michael West
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Submitted by Julia Stolzenberg on November 3, 2008 - 11:22am.
Generation Y – bored brats or brilliant businesspeople?
They seem to be the ultimate nuisance of modern society with their cool, self-focussed and pleasure-oriented lifestyle. They are criticised for being financially immature and unwilling to take on responsibility ... there is a common perception that Generation Y tends towards serial job-hopping and lacks practical workplace skills and realistic expectations about salary, promotions and job requirements.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on October 24, 2008 - 1:36pm.
You can see a lot by just looking: Understanding human judgement in financial decision-making
As market confidence continues to plunge some of modern economics’ most popular ideas are now looking a little under-dressed. This paper deals with just one of those ideas - the myth that market participants are always rational decision-makers who act to maximise their own best interests. (Miriam Lyons and James Murray)
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Submitted by Zhang Xiaojia on October 23, 2008 - 11:27am.
Greed Kills
Four babies were killed and more than 12,600 were hospitalized by the melamine-tainted infant formula produced by SanLu earlier last month. At first glance, people thought it was only a random incident. But when further investigations were undertaken, it was revealed that almost every milk product sold on the Chinese market contained excessive melamine.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on October 17, 2008 - 4:13pm.
Who will be the next Prime Minister of Australia? A woman, and it will be sooner than you think!
This week’s Rudd Government stimulus package is a good start, but more is needed now. It is imperative for the Federal and State Governments to stimulate business with tax cuts otherwise both unemployed and "underemployed" will jump ... . In addition the Reserve Bank must cut interest rates another 1% at each of its next two or three monthly meetings. (Gary Morgan)
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Submitted by Malcolm B Duncan on October 12, 2008 - 7:03pm.
Oh, John Cain, you’ve done it again
This announcement by the Prime Minister, if correctly reported, is a recipe for disaster because of its open-endedness. The agreement of the Leader of the Opposition is equally rash. To guarantee deposits for the big four with substantial assets makes some limited sense but ...
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on October 7, 2008 - 4:43pm.
Greed
The “greed-is-good” era brought the stock market crash of 1987, the savings and loans debacle in the United States and the global recession which gripped many countries in the early 1990s. It is perhaps time now to admit that we did not learn the full lessons of the greed-is-good ideology. And today we are still cleaning up the mess of the twenty-first century children of Gordon Gecko. (Kevin Rudd)
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Submitted by James Sinnamon on October 6, 2008 - 8:36pm.
How decades of privatisation have impoverished NSW
NSW's record seems to confirm that privatisation is, indeed, just old-fashioned plunder as practised by the Conquistadores, Vikings, Mongols, etc. Revenue generating assets paid for over previous decades by taxpayers have apparently been sold off for no better reason than to line the pockets of private investors, bankers and stockbrokers.
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Submitted by Richard Tonkin on October 1, 2008 - 2:26am.
A critical moment
"The dramatic drop in the stock market that we saw yesterday will have a direct impact on the retirement accounts, pension funds, and personal savings of millions of our citizens. And if our nation continues on this course, the economic damage will be painful and lasting. "  - U.S President George Bush
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Submitted by Jaya Myler on September 30, 2008 - 4:39pm.
Mind the gap: 9 out of 10 women call for gender wage gap reporting
Survey results released today by The Heat Group, marketer to Australian women, show there’s been a huge groundswell of support for the demand issued by the ACTU for greater transparency by employers of gender pay data.
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Submitted by Katja Lieb on September 30, 2008 - 4:37pm.
The luxury car tax: Hardly fair, unjust and not smart
Family First Senator Stephen Fielding has become a surprise power player in the proposed increase to the luxury car tax (LCT), with the Rudd government expected to reintroduce the bill to the Senate this week with changes that both the Family First Senator and the Greens have lobbied for.
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Submitted by Maurizio Corda on September 28, 2008 - 1:20pm.
When selling coffee is not enough
On 3rd August, American giant Starbucks closed 61 of its 85 shops in Australia. After over a month and hundreds of jobs lost, I and many other coffee lovers still think about what went wrong and why did Starbucks fail to break the Australian market.
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Submitted by Simon Harris on September 28, 2008 - 12:15pm.
Is Qantas too old?
Even though 747’s have been around since the late 60’s they have kept the record for the safest aircraft in history so far. They have flown more than half the world’s population in the last 40 years with 3.5 billion people at the end of 2005. The bottom line is the 747, despite its great safety record, is an aging aircraft.
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Submitted by Jingjing Zhang on September 28, 2008 - 12:04pm.
More reasons keep Generation Y housebound
After the result of a Housing Industry Association survey being announced two months ago, Bernard Salt, a demographer in Sydney, says there are some other reasons besides expensive house rental keep the trend that Generation Y live with their family going up.
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Submitted by Bianca Birdsall on September 25, 2008 - 6:07pm.
Politicians join BHP blockade
Since I began watching this issue a few months ago, coverage has certainly increased, but public interest largely has not. Even if the effect on agricultural supply and pricing is ignored, if nothing more this is a case study of the needs for appropriate oversight of the planning and development process, and the rights of landowners and the state when it comes to resources.
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Submitted by Bianka Morgen on September 25, 2008 - 11:55am.
Urban hunting
Every Saturday the same: stressed people run through Sydney, armed with the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Domain section. It is hunting season - house hunting season! A month ago I was one of them.
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Submitted by carmen.k.li on September 23, 2008 - 10:50am.
Environmental solution or just a lot of hot air?
In this age of environmental awareness and carbon footprint-counting, we are inundated with green alternatives and pressured into offsetting emissions, but are these initiatives really making a difference to climate change or are they just another money making ploy?
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Submitted by Prea Peter on September 22, 2008 - 11:28am.
The money train
Will the current crisis in the global financial markets adversely affect Australia? Will a sick passenger on a Chatswood train disrupt the Bankstown service? The answer to both these seemingly unrelated questions is something along the lines of “we don’t know for sure. Even if we did, there is probably not much we can do”. Complex networks of tracks or markets definitely have a downside.
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Submitted by Fiona Yip on September 21, 2008 - 3:20pm.
Housing affordability hits stress level for Australian families
There was some relief when the Reserve Bank of Australia reduced interest rates and banks also reduced mortgage interest rates. Hopefully, the employment situation will remain stable so that the middle class can hold on to their jobs to support their mortgage payments. Meanwhile, there are signs that property prices are dropping. But this is a double-edged sword ...
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Submitted by Kacie Bluhm on September 21, 2008 - 1:56pm.
NSW's Transit Tcard gets a second chance
The Tcard moves transport ticketing into the entirely electronic realm, even claiming the eventual possibility for mobile phone ticketing. While innovative in its concept, the drastic change has many commuters worried.
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Submitted by Jillian Wolfe on September 19, 2008 - 2:04pm.
It’s not as easy as “ABC”?
It’s easy to ignore a broken bank as just another greedy institution and that deserves their demise. Not so when you are the nations largest childcare provider to hundreds of thousands of working families. The challenge here is whether the government should intervene and nationalise a private sector entity to ensure delivery of a vital piece of social infrastructure.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on September 19, 2008 - 8:25am.
US Economy: Rudderless and reeling from direct hits
Ill-advised financial deregulation led to financial concentration and not to more efficient markets. Independent local banks, which focused on financing local businesses, and Saving and Loan Associations, which knew the local housing market, have been replaced with large institutions that package unanalyzed risks and sell them worldwide. Regulation over-reached. The pendulum swung. Deregulation became an ideology and a facilitator of greed.
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Submitted by James Sinnamon on September 18, 2008 - 1:40pm.
Media contempt for facts in NSW electricity privatisation debate
Analysis of the reporting of electricity privatisation initiatives in New South Wales brings disturbing confirmation that the major Australian newsmedia does not accurately report essential facts on issues of vital concern to us. Indeed, it often acts as a conduit for propaganda against our best interest.
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Submitted by Richard Tonkin on September 16, 2008 - 1:02pm.
Nightmare on Wall Street - Freddie's Revenge on Australia
If Fannie and Freddie, between them, had three times the GDP of Australia, what's been lost here? One hundred and thirty Lehman Brothers Australia jobs, for starters. That's nothing, though, compared to the fact that, by the look of the Aussie dollar, we've just lost our cash flow.
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