The truth about Australia’s unemployment rate ‘shocker’

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Hey, great news! Australia’s unem­ploy­ment rate fell by 0.4 per cent last month! Did you hear?

You didn’t? That’s funny. I was sure Joe would tell you.

What do you mean, it rose by 0.4 per cent? Oh, you’re talk­ing about the ABS fig­ure! Yeah, that’s bad, but if you look at what hap­pened to the Roy Mor­gan unem­ploy­ment rate, the news is really good: it’s fallen from 10.6 per cent to 10.2 per cent! If this keeps up, pretty soon unem­ploy­ment in Aus­tralia will be below 10 per cent!

Help create a graphic novel version of Debunking Economics

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Genevieve Tran, who blogs at Money Big and Small, is team­ing up with graphic artist Miguel Guerra and Suzy Dias, who do the car­toons on IDEAe­co­nom­ics and pro­duce the indi-comic Super Cor­po­rate Heroes, are team­ing up to pro­duce a graphic novel ver­sion of Debunk­ing Eco­nom­ics.

Genevieve is putting together a video and has sent out the fol­low­ing call:

A request to world-wide friends: if you don’t remem­ber ever learn­ing about impor­tant things like how banks, debt or money work (=Eco­nom­ics, Finance!), in high school, could I ask you to sub­mit a video of your­self shrug­ging and shak­ing your head? It’s for a kick­starter video to learn about Eco­nom­ics in a non-horrible way: thru comic books! Yes, I’ll give you a first copy!  Any video qual­ity. H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DV, and AIC format.

The revolt of (part of) the top 1% of the top 1%

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What are your pre­con­cep­tions about the author of a book with the title The Next Eco­nomic Dis­as­ter: Why It’s Com­ing and How to Avoid It? Aca­d­e­mic? Left­ist? Anti-capitalist? Anti-banker certainly?

Pre­pare to drop them all, because the author is none of the above. Tak­ing the last first, the major­ity of his career has been in bank­ing — and as a founder and CEO.

Click here to read the rest of this post.

Graph for Why the super rich are running scared of inequality


Are the students revolting, or is it economics?

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Main­stream econ­o­mists have long ignored the dynam­ics of pri­vate debt, money and banks to their detri­ment. Now more than ever, a real­is­tic and non-orthodox approach to eco­nom­ics is needed.

Last week I made my first over­seas trip on which I ticked the box ‘Aus­tralian res­i­dent depart­ing per­ma­nently’. It’s given me cause to reflect on my career as an aca­d­e­mic econ­o­mist (and part-time jour­nal­ist) in Australia.

The good, the bad and the ugly of the Murray inquiry

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The Murray inquiry's observations on financial advice, household debt and super are commendable, but its boneheaded proposal for the government to underwrite RMBS is a concern.

A gov­ern­ment report is always a Parson’s Egg, and I’ll start with the parts of this one that were excel­lent. These were its wari­ness about and obser­va­tions on super­an­nu­a­tion, finan­cial advice and house­hold debt.

A Royal Commission into the Commonwealth Bank

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The Com­mon­wealth Bank’s response to the Sen­ate inves­ti­ga­tion of ASIC blames incom­pe­tence and indi­vid­u­als for the scan­dals at Com­mon­wealth Finan­cial Plan­ning Lim­ited. Chief exec­u­tive Ian Narev: “Poor advice pro­vided by some of our advis­ers between 2003 to 2012 caused finan­cial loss and dis­tress and I am truly sorry for that.”

This is the pre­dictable ‘rot­ten apple’ defence to alle­ga­tions of impro­pri­ety. And it is sim­ply absurd to describe some of the alleged actions of those advis­ers noted by the Sen­ate Report – such as “forgery and dis­hon­est con­ceal­ment of mate­r­ial facts” (Sen­ate Inquiry Exec­u­tive Sum­mary, p. xviii) — as merely “poor advice”. If the bank can describe that as “poor advice”, then a bank rob­ber would be enti­tled to describe his pro­fes­sion as “mak­ing withdrawals”.

Abbott shoots his own supporters in the foot

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The Abbott gov­ern­ment has reacted with pre­dictable dis­dain to attacks over its poli­cies on refugees, home­less, uni­ver­sity stu­dents, unem­ployed, and wel­fare recip­i­ents. And why shouldn’t it? These are com­plaints from peo­ple who nor­mally wouldn’t vote for them any­way, while the poli­cies them­selves appeal not only to “bolted on” Lib­eral vot­ers, but also to dis­af­fected Labor vot­ers. It’s good pol­i­tics, even if the bad press means a tem­po­rary hit in the opin­ion polls.

An open letter to Brussels

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The Euro­pean Sta­bil­ity and Growth Pact is based on the prin­ci­ple that sta­bil­ity and growth are enhanced when gov­ern­ment deficits are either min­imised or elim­i­nated. I want you to dis­pas­sion­ately con­sider an argu­ment that reaches a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion. It may sound like some­thing you have heard before from oth­ers and already dis­missed. But bear with me.

Why Europe’s austerity experiment is doomed to fail

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I’ve spent the past two weeks in Europe, with speak­ing engage­ments in Italy, Greece and Aus­tria. This was my first visit to Greece, and my first chance to get an admit­tedly super­fi­cial tourist’s view of what a coun­try with Great Depres­sion lev­els of unem­ploy­ment looks like.

It didn’t look like any­thing in par­tic­u­lar until the drive from Athens, Greece’s cap­i­tal and largest city, to Thes­sa­loniki, its sec­ond largest. Then it struck me: the roads were near empty — as the toll booth shown in Fig­ure 1 illus­trates. My host Nikos reck­ons he has done a mil­lion kilo­me­ters over the years on this 500km drive, and he con­firmed that roads which were now vir­tu­ally empty were once full of cars, and espe­cially trucks — that mobile sign of a thriv­ing economy.