Economics

Visions of the future are always forged within a present. The Great Depression led sober economists to wonder whether capitalism and economic growth had come to an end. Golden Era economists of the 1950s and 1960s, confident they knew better, promised that the formula for permanent growth had been discovered. In the 1970s a combination of high inflation and unemploy ...

Mark Triffitt reviews two books by George Megalogenis

Mark Triffitt
Friday, 22 April 2016

Compared to the epic narratives of America and Europe, our story can seem rather unglamorous. Australia's 'tyranny of distance' from the seismic events of world history induces a vague sense that Australians labour under a certain tyranny of irrelevance. Perhaps we don't look hard enough to appreciate what is unique about our past. Or is is that our innate sense of ...

Neal Blewett reviews 'Universal Man' by Richard Davenport-Hines

Neal Blewett
Wednesday, 25 November 2015

John Maynard Keynes has not lacked for biographers – about a dozen at last count. His first, his student Roy Harrod, established the framework of the public life, though providing only a sanitised version of the private Keynes. Donald Moggridge wrote the definitive account of the economic man, while Robert Skidelsky, with his three-volume work, John Maynard Ke ...

Peter Acton reviews 'Capitalism' by John Plender

Peter Acton
Wednesday, 28 October 2015

'Money is like poetry because both involve learning to communicate in a compressed language that packs a lot of meaning and consequence into the minimum semantic space.'  This comparison, coming from one of today's most strident critics of the capitalist system, British novelist

Mark Triffitt reviews 'Inequality' by Anthony B. Atkinson

Mark Triffitt
Tuesday, 29 September 2015

If free markets promote themselves as the most effective and efficient way of creating and sharing prosperity, then growing inequality has emerged as one of their deepest failings in the early part of this century. After all, how ‘effective’ is having ninety-nine per cent of the world’s wealth go to less than one per cent of its population? Is it ‘effi ...

Peter Acton reviews 'The Great Divide' by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Peter Acton
Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Consider the following statements: unregulated markets achieve the best outcomes for society; ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’; government intervention, regulation, and redistribution damage economic growth; tax cuts for the rich are a reliable way to foster growth; financial market innovations create growth and benefit society. A ...

Writing an effective book on climate change is a challenge as diabolicalas it is important. The complexity of the science, economics, and politics is daunting. How to extract the diamonds lurking in the rough of the International Panel on Climate Change reports? How to balance the good cop, dishing out hope, with the bad, lashing the reader with honest accounts of p ...

Adrian Walsh reviews 'Hard Times' by Tom Clark and Adrian Heath

Adrian Walsh
Thursday, 26 February 2015

It is now more than six years since the Global Financial Crisis threatened to topple the banking systems of the Western world. Although a complete breakdown in the financial system was ultimately avoided, one consequence of the events of 2008 has been the biggest slump in economic activity since the Great Depression. Australia was, in the main, spared the economic d ...

This clear and cogent book is an important wake-up call. It should not need saying that it is impossible for human populations and economies to grow without limit on a finite planet, but that delusion is widespread. This book is a reminder of the inconvenient truth that should be informing our leaders ...

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