|IndyWatch Australian Economic News Feed Archiver|
IndyWatch Australian Economic News Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.
An article has been doing the rounds House of Cards by Matt Burnie and Craig Tindale, that we highly commend. Rarely do articles array so much data in devastating order. There must be over 100 links highlighting the risky nature of our economic miracle from one industry after the other. Whilst the authors 
[ Thursday, 7 Dec; 6:30 pm; ] Lets celebrate members and volunteers for a great year of events and forums continuing our vision for Armidale to be a lovely sustainable town to live in. Its simple: bring a picnic blanket, some finger food and drink to share. The festivities will happen at the new time of 6.30pm Thursday 7th December at the Armidale Community Garden [...] full article
One hundred and fifty years ago on Tuesday The Sydney Morning Herald broke news that these days would be considered shocking.
The first 'life table' prepared for the British colony put the expected lifespan of a newborn non-Aboriginal Australian at just 45.6 years.
The Bureau of Statistics now gives newborns a lifespan of 82.5 years; 80.4 for boys, and 84.6 for girls.
And that's almost certain to be an underestimate. Improvements in medical technologies throughout 80 years of life are likely to add an extra four years to those totals.
On November 7, 1867, the life table was good news. We were better off than England where newborns got only 40.9 years, and better off than Belgium where they got 32.2.
And things were even better than the raw figure of 45.6 years suggested. An extraordinary 10.6 per cent of newborns (10.6 per cent of boys, 9.8 per cent of girls) died before they reached the age of one. If you survived to the age of one, you were likely to make it to 51.
From today's vantage point it looks as if life expectancy has always increased, but it hasn't, for decades at a time. The 1960s were what Melbourne University demographer Alan Lopez refers to as the "tobacco years". Life expectancy increased not at all.
For older Australians life expectancy scarcely increased for 50 years, between 1920 and 1970. It was only after 1972 when the tobacco use was brought under control (it didn't finally peak until 1978 - 1980) and progress was made against heart attacks that it began to grow again.
In recent years, newborns have been gaining an extra year of life every two and a half years. Australian National University demographer Liz Allen can't see an upper limit, although she concedes it will be more difficult. Controlling tobacco, preventing heart disease and making driving safer were easier to do than it would be to extend the lifespan of the parts of our bodies with built in obsolescence. Our bodies weren't designed to last too many years beyond childbirth, she says.
Alan Lopez says we've already harvested most of the low-hanging fruit. "The gains in lung cancer, chronic heart disease and the tobacco causes will continue, but at a much slower rate," he says. The gains from road accidents will depend on whether we adopt strict road rules of the kind Sweden has where there is a zero tolerance for alcohol.
At a public lecture to be presented at Melbourne University next week, he will suggest that life expectancy will continue to climb for the next 25 years, but at half the rate of the previous 25 years.
The biggest obstacle will be obesity, which has helped turn back the life expectancy of white men in the United States.
"Roughly one-third of Australians are obese, another third a...
Why do people feel so rotten?
It's because they don't believe the federal Treasurer when he says there are "better days ahead".
He's said it 25 times, roughly once a week since April.
If things were really looking up, retailers wouldn't need to cut prices to maintain sales. During the June and September quarters, retail prices fell 0.2 and 0.4 per cent. Fell. It's rare for prices to fall across the entire retail sector for an entire quarter. It's even rarer for them to fall for two consecutive quarters, and rarer still for them to fall that much. It's the biggest wave of discounting this century.
What did the price dive deliver? An increase in spending of 1 per cent. In department stores, where prices slipped 0.3 per cent, spending slid 2.2 per cent.
ShopperTrak monitors retail traffic in real time. Store owners and shopping centre managers feed it video, Wi-Fi and the output of heat sensors to enable it to work out how many people are in participating stores at any given time and how long they stay. In September, foot traffic was down 6 per cent on the same period the previous year. In the first three weeks of October, it was down 7.5 per cent.
It's partly because we're switching to shopping online, where, for big items, we can get lower prices, often from overseas. But it's also because, even with low and sliding prices, we are less keen to shop.
Ask us whether we expect better or worse conditions in the year ahead, as the Melbourne Institute does every month, and only 21 per cent say "better". That's the average for the past 12 months. Back in the final year of the Gillard government and the last months of the mining boom, 30 per cent said better. Back further in the last year of the Howard government, 33 per cent picked better.
It's the same when you ask about the next five years: only 21 per cent of us expect better times; 26 per cent expect worse. Back in the final year of the Howard government 44 per cent of us expected better times, and only 22 per cent expected worse.
Like businesses reluctant to invest whatever the interest rate, households that are wary will be reluctant to spend whatever the price. Officially, inflation is just 1.8 per cent, keeping pace with record low private sector wage growth of 1.8 per cent. But 1.8 per cent is an overestimate.
The Bureau of Statistics conceded as much on Monday when it revamped the consumer price index to take into account changed buying patterns. The index measures the price of the basket of goods that is said to represent the purchases of a typical consumer. But what's typical changes over time.
In the seven years since the index was last revamped, we've switched to a basket of goods whose pric...
Here is a summary of another interesting study I read last week
(published March 30, 2017) Happiness at Work from
academic researchers JanEmmanuel De Neve and George Ward. It
explores the relationship between happiness and labour force
status, including whether an individual is employed or not and the
types of jobs they are doing. The results reinforce a long
literature, which emphatically concludes that people are devastated
when they lose their jobs and do not adapt to unemployment as its
duration increases. The unemployed are miserable and remain so even
as they become entrenched in long-term unemployment. Further, they
do not seem to sense (or exploit) a freedom to release some inner
sense of creativity and purpose. The overwhelming proportion
continually seek work and relate their social status and life
happiness to gaining a job, rather than living without a job on
income support. The overwhelming conclusion is that work makes up
such an important part of our lives and that result is robust
across different countries and cultures. Being employed leads to
much higher evaluations of the quality of life relative to being
unemployed. And, nothing much has changed in this regard over the
last 80 or so years. These results were well-known in the 1930s,
for example. They have a strong bearing on the debate between
income guarantees versus employment guarantees. The UBI proponents
have produced no robust literature to refute these long-held
While the Happiness Study notes that the relationship between happiness and employment is a complex and dynamic interaction that runs in both directions the authors are unequivocal:
The overwhelming importance of having a job for happiness is evident throughout the analysis, and holds across all of the worlds regions. When considering the worlds population as a whole, people with a job evaluate the quality of their lives much more favorably than those who are unemployed. The importance of having a job extends far beyond the salary attached to it, with non-pecuniary aspects of employment such as social status, social relations, daily structure, and goals all exerting a strong influence on peoples happiness.
And, the inverse:
The importance of employment for peoples subjective wellbeing shines a spotlight on the misery and unhappiness associated with being unemployed.
There is a burgeoning literature on happiness, which the authors aim to contribute to.
They define happiness as subjective well-being, which is measured along multiple dimensions:
life evaluation (by way of the Cantril ladder of life), positive and negative affect to measure respondents experienced positive and negative...
[ Sunday, 26 Nov; 11:00 am; ] Hi Armidale folk, there will be a crew catching the train, attending the rally (which was moved back so you would make it on time) and then having lunch together :) Hear from experts about the effects of climate change on agriculture, the potential for renewable energy and candidates for the seat of New England. Train: Depart [...] full article
[ Friday, 4 May to Sunday, 6 May. ] "Gathering of the Geeks" Electric Vehicles Expo Where: National Transport Museum Inverell NSW 2360 When: 4th to 6th May 2018 [embed width="520"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY65V5uDEM8[/embed] Visit the New England in Autumn for the first Electric Vehicle Expo and Motor Show held over 3 days and 3 Shires. The National Transport Museum is the largest in New England (4000m2 under one [...] full article
[ Thursday, 23 Nov; 6:30 pm; ] Making renewable energy projects work for the whole community. A free information forum for landholders and neighbours living near large scale renewable energy projects, with lessons from projects around Australia. Understand contracts you may be offered and how financial benefits are shared throughout the broader community Hear lessons from the National Wind Farm Commissioner, Andrew Dyer, [...] full article
The British Empire, which at the end of the 19th century ruled one quarter of the earths land surface, is long gone. But its robust successor and heir, the United States, has set about enlarging it.
As I sought to explain in my last book American Raj How the US Rules the Muslim World, the US imperium exerts its power by controlling tame, compliant regimes around the world and their economies. They are called allies but, in fact, should be more accurately termed satrapies or vassal states. Many states are happy to be prosperous US vassals, others less so.
The US power system has successfully dominated much of the world, except of course for great powers China, Russia and India. Germany and much of Western Europe remains in thrall to post WWII US power. The same applies to Canada, Latin America, Australia, and parts of SE Asia....
Cambodias Supreme Court has dissolved the countrys main opposition party, denying millions of Cambodians the opportunity to vote for their elected representatives in elections next year.
The verdict follows a sweeping crackdown on democracy and political freedoms in the country where Australia has an agreement to send refugees from Nauru and Manus Island.
More than half of the leaders of the National Rescue Party (CNRP), which Prime Minister Hun Sens government asked the court to dissolve, are already in jail or have fled the country.
The court also ordered a five-year ban on political activity for 118 members of the party, which had emerged as a threat to Mr Hun Sens three decade-rule.
The government has accused the party of plotting to overthrow the government with help from the United States, which strongly Washington denies.
Party leader Kem Sokha was jailed in a raid on his home by more than 200 police on September 3.
Human rights group slammed the verdict in the country, where they say the courts ar...
The OECD calls its Hows Life? report a wake-up call for governments.
The Australian government has announced that it will provide over AU$8 million in grants for a blockchain-powered smart utilities project.
When Tony Abbott first stood for prime minister, he complained about the price of bread.
Head to Woolworths online today and you'll see a variety of prices, for different kinds of loaves. I've averaged them. Today's price is $3.55.
We never seem to notice the prices that are going down, or at least we pay far less attention to them than the prices that are going up (or that we imagine are going up).
The inflation rate is 1.8 per cent. But when asked by the Melbourne Institute what we think it is, we typically say 5 to 6 per cent.
The Bureau of Statistics calculates the rate by going into shops and entering into scanners the prices of around 1000 items. It does it over and over again, all over each of Australia's eight capital cities. These days it augments those readings with scanner data from supermarkets and the prices advertised on websites.
But it gets it wrong. And not in the direction you would expect.
It systematically overestimates the inflation rate because it systematically underestimates our canniness.
Here's how it would work with two brands of baked beans. To start with they might each sell for the same price, and we might buy the same amount of each. Five years later the price of one brand might be 20 per cent higher and the other 5 per cent higher. The Bureau will record an average price increase of around 10 per cent. But the cost to us won't have increased that much. Over time, we will have shifted our purchases to the brand which has increased more slowly, by 5 per cent.
We do it with everything, switching between brands and between products in order to save money. It's how we shop.
It is why every few years the consumer price index gets seriously out of whack and needs to be recalibrated. The Bureau has just done it, re-surveying how we spend our money and readjusting the index to reflect updated spending patterns. It used to do it every five or so years. From now on...
Stanley Kubrick Laboratory at Columbia University 1948 Banks Show An Almost Autistic Disregard For The Law Australia Senator (Abc) ECB Proposes End To Deposit Protection (GC) Europe Faces a Hamstrung Germany as Merkels Coalition Bid Fails 3 Things That Could Destroy One Of The Greatest Stock Rallies Of All
A soldier poured gasoline over a heavily pregnant woman and set her alight.
Another ripped a baby from his mothers arms and threw him into the fire.
He was not even one year oldI will never forget their screams, a 24 year-old woman told investigators from Save the Children, which has just released a report revealing shocking atrocities against Rohingya Muslim children in Myanmar.
A 12 year-old boy fled his village for Bangladesh after the military started hacking people with machetes before entering an abandoned village, hoping to find some food or water, and eventually came across a reservoir, the report said.
When I got closer I saw at least 50 dead bodies floating in it, the boy told investigators.
I cant forget the smell of the burning houses, or the sight of the bloated bodiesthese are horrors I will never forget, he said.
Save the Children Australia director of policy and international programs Matt Tinkl...
I read a very interesting Report last week
False Alarmism: Technological Disruption and the U.S. Labor Market,
18502015 published on May 8, 2017 by the Information Technology
and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and written by Robert Atkinson and
John Wu. The title is indicative of the message. Somehow,
contemporary commentators including many on the so-called
progressive Left are stuck in the robots are coming for your jobs
narrative, which then somehow morphs into a resignation that there
will never be enough jobs for all those who desire them, and then
surrender, we need a basic income to keep people eating.
Apparently, then human creativity will spring forth from the
despair of unemployment because the pittance received from the
basic income will allow people to engage their inner
entrepreneurial spirit with businesses popping up all over the
place, great works of art and music being pumped out and all the
rest of the basic income camps vision of blithe happiness. Pigs
might fly! Of course, if this was happening at the pace that some
would have us believe then productivity growth would be booming and
investment to GDP ratios high. The robots camp then say well it is
only a matter of time business needs time to adapt to the new
technologies available (for example,
Artificial Intelligence and the Modern Productivity Paradox: A
Clash of Expectations and Statistics). Technological change is
on-going and there have been great leaps in techniques in history.
But the ITIF research suggests that the current era does not signal
it is one of these great leaps, and, in fact, the US labor market
is experiencing unprecedented calm right now.
A report earlier this year (March 26, 2017) in Phys.org Tech world debate on robots and jobs heats up aired the view of a tech entrepreneur who claimed that:
some 80 to 90 percent of jobs will be eliminated in the next 10 to 15 years.
Of course, the discussion didnt question whether the tech entrepreneur had a vested commercial interest in making these radical predictions. It just repeated the claims.
The Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum is certainly pushing the robots are coming view, which means the so-called leaders of the world are getting it rammed down their throats along with all the fine food and wine they consume at the WEF meetings.
He (Klaus Schwab) wrote on January 14, 2016 The Fo...
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead. In its place, maybe, we'll have something lesser, with a longer title: the Progressive Comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership, or PCTPP.
The name change is apparently a sop to the Canadians, who like things progressive. They are the only nation, ever in the history of the world, to have named one of their political parties the Progressive Conservatives.
To get it past the Canadians, and a number of other nations that aren't too happy about what was agreed to in the original Trans-Pacific Partnership at the behest of the Americans, much of it will be "suspended".
Gone for the moment will be most of the rules governing copyright, patents and pharmaceuticals designed to support US lobbyists.
Unwilling countries such as Canada and New Zealand won't have to extend their copyright terms from 50 years after the death of an author to 70 years. (Australia has already done it, in order to get the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement over the line).
Gone, too, will be the onerous provision that each country provide the equivalent of eight years' protection to the makers of highly expensive so-called biologic drugs, lengthening the time before many can use cheaper alternatives.
Also gone will be the requirement that member countries make it illegal to hack devices such as DVD players to get around region coding and other technological copyright protection measures. And the requirement that member countries allow copyright owners to sue internet service providers for allowing their customers to illegally download copyrighted material.
Also narrowed, a tiny bit, are provisions that will allow foreign corporations to sue sovereign governments, provisions John Howard refused to accept when he negotiated the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Other suspended provisions are those protecting labour rights and the environment imposed on reluctant, less-developed countries at the behest of former US president Barack Obama.
They are suspended, not entirely removed. The TPP 11, as it is informally known because it includes each of the original 12 signatories apart from the US, will leave those provisions dormant, ready for reinclusion when a new post-Trump administration decides to join.
But it doesn't mean they will be reincluded. For that to happen, each of the 11 members would have to agree, and most likely get legislation through their parliaments.
There's much still to be sorted out. Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said on Sunday the agreement was 90 per cent...
The federal budget is built on the back of impossibly large tax increases that won't survive the coming election, a new report has warned.
The Deloitte Access budget monitor, released four weeks ahead of the official budget update, finds that on the government's own forecasts by 2021 the typical Australian income will have climbed $6100, but the typical tax take will have climbed $2500.
The tax take of 41 per cent of each extra dollar is way in excess of the typical average rate of 14.9 per cent and the typical marginal rate of 32.5 per cent.
It would push up the average rate from 14.9 to 18.2 per cent.
"I don't think the average Australian - or the average Australian business - has yet realised that the return to surplus is built on the assumption that 2 out of every 5 dollars of extra income will line the government's pockets," said Deloitte Access director Chris Richardson.
"Politically, in the context of elections and byelections, it isn't tenable, which means the forecasted return to surplus isn't tenable."
Known as the 'treasury in exile' Deloitte Access is run by former Treasury forecasters who are able to say what the Treasury cannot. It's findings echo those of the Parliamentary Budget Office, released last month.
"As it happens, we don't think the increase in incomes will be as strong at the Treasury projects, and we don't think the economy will as efficient at turning it into revenue, but that just makes the deficit problem worse."
Deloitte Access is forecasting a wafer-thin surplus of just $2.3 billion in 2020-21 rather than the $7.4 billion projected in the budget. But that forecast allows for no further tax cuts for four years, a scenario Mr Richardson regards as implausible.
A ready reckoner created by Mr Richardson finds it would cost $6.5 billion per year to cut each tax rate by one percentage point, a cost that would climb to $7.3 billion per year by 2020-21. The cost of returning all bracket creep would amount to $12.2 billion per year by 2020-21.
"The official view is one in which the economy does fine and the tax system does superbly," Mr Richardson said.
"The problems are that we think the economy and wages and profits will underperform, although they are doing alright at the moment, and we think the tax system will underperform at turning that extra income into tax.
"Add to that the awful politics of a rising tax take, and we think the government will decide to cut taxes, using what is most likely a temporary over-performance in revenue as cover."
Mr Richardson said he expected the tax cuts to be promised in the lead-up to next year's election, or possibly when the mid-year budget update is released in December.In ...
November 17, 2017: After five years and 20 rounds of negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will continue into 2018. This means that they have missed a deadline for the third time. Indonesian Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita has asked negotiating countries to be more realistic and flexible about their standards. He also has referred to the RCEP as the only game in town, an apparent reference to the uncertain future of the TPP-11. Other reports say the new target for completion is November 2018.
One ASEAN source has told Vietnam News that major differences among member countries include China and Indias disagreements on tariff reductions. Other major disagreements have been over medicine monopolies, investor rights to sue governments, electronic commerce, trade in services and government procurement.
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