Unconventional Economist


Population growth and Infrastructure: the catch-up illusion

Yesterday, I flew up to Sydney to launch a new discussion paper with former NSW Premier Bob Carr, entitled “Population growth and Infrastructure in Australia: the catch-up illusion”, of which I was the lead author. This paper was commissioned by Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), which “is an Australian, non-partisan, special advocacy group that seeks to


Links 27 November 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The Rich Have Assets, The Poor Have Debt – Zero Hedge Bitcoin is Down: these might be the possible Reasons of Dumping – Token Hell $21 Trillion in Missing Money Could Trigger Meltdown – USA Watchdog Americas: It’s Official: The United States Is Now A Banana Republic – Zero


Stiglitz: It’s time to dump GDP

Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, has called on governments to dump GDP as the key economic measure of progress and instead focus on better measures of societal wellbeing: The way we assess economic performance and social progress is fundamentally wrong, and the climate crisis has brought these concerns to the fore… The standard measure


Regional schools now also crush-loaded

The Coalition’s plan to divert migrants to the regions has already run head first into reality, with schools in the regional Victorian city of Ballarat bursting at the seams after experiencing strong population growth: Population growth continues to put pressure on Ballarat’s booming secondary colleges, with the number of year sevens set to start high


NSW Planning Minister: Population growth impossible to control

After last week attacking so-called “NIMBY baby boomers” for opposing high-rise development across Sydney, NSW Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, claims it is “a completely quixotic quest” to try and control Sydney’s growth [my emphasis]: In the next 17 years, Sydney’s population is expected to grow by 1.5 million people, a large percentage of whom will


Dodgy ghost colleges target Indian international students

Another report has emerged on how private ghost colleges providing fake diplomas are targeting international students from India: In the recent past, Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector has been rocked with scandals that in worst cases have led to arrests, fraud and have unearthed the reality of ‘ghost colleges’ exploiting vulnerable international students.


Links 26 November 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Artificial Intelligence And Blockchain: A Perfect Match – Medium The $4 trillion force propelling US stocks to record highs – CNN The Next Wave of Debt Monetization Will Be a Disaster – Epoch Times 150 Years Of Bank Credit Expansion Is Near Its End – Zero Hedge Investors Bet


MB Sydney Presentation: population growth and infrastructure

Tomorrow, I will be flying up to Sydney to launch a new research paper, entitled Population growth and infrastructure in Australia: the catch-up illusion, commissioned by Sustainable Population Australia (SPA): Former NSW Premier and SPA Patron, Bob Carr, will also be presenting at the conference. The event is free and can be booked at the


Turnbull contradicts himself on NBN

In 2013, former Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, abandoned plans to build a fibre to the premise (FTTP) National Broadband Network (NBN) across the majority of the country, instead replacing it with a multi-technology mix that included previously retired copper cabling. This change was marketed as a cost-saving move. However, the huge amount of rectification works


Choice demands mortgage broker best interest duty

The mortgage broking industry successfully fought off the Hayne Royal Commission’s recommendation that trailing commissions be abolished and that banks stop paying upfront commissions to brokers. It is also trying to leverage its influence within the Coalition to overturn common-sense rules requiring the industry to act in the best interests of its clients, as applies


ANU: Coalition’s visa reforms won’t shift migrants to regions

MB has frequently ridiculed the push by the Morrison Government towards decentralisation, noting that this is a pipe dream based on the settlement pattern of new migrants, which have overwhelmingly chosen to flood the major cities: Well, the situation is even worse than presented above with new ANU research of settlement patterns showing that around


Seniors groups demand MORE pension

In its pre-Budget submission, National Seniors has demanded the Morrison Government reduce the taper rate by which the Aged Pension is phased-out: It wants to reduce the taper rate, which reduces the age pension for people depending on the value of their assets. The taper rate was lifted by then-treasurer Scott Morrison more than two


Unions: ALP “completely sold out” working people on FTAs

Allen Hicks, the Electrical Trades Union’s (ETU) national secretary, claims Labor has “completely sold out” working people and betrayed its own policy platforms by backing free trade agreements (FTAs) with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru. Accordingly, the ETU has passed a resolution to cease providing donations to federal Labor; although it will continue to offer


Treasury: Superannuation system favours the wealthy

A new Treasury paper, released on Friday, claims Australia’s retirement system is giving the wealthiest Australians twice as much financial assistance as those on the lowest incomes: The overall level of public support provided by the retirement income system should be targeted to those who need it most. Higher income earners generally have a greater


Auction clearances retrace

Auction clearance rates retraced slightly over the weekend, with the preliminary rate nationally coming in at 72.9%, down from 74.1% last weekend: Auction clearances were also way above the 41.9% recorded in the same weekend last year: Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate was 82.3%, up from 77.2% last weekend, but way above the 44.8% recorded in


Australia’s $37.6b international student export con

Australia’s Education Minister, Dan Tehan, issued a media release spruiking that Australia’s education ‘exports’ surged by $5 billion in 2018-19 to a record high $37.6 billion: International education contributed $37.6 billion to the Australian economy last financial year, which was a $5 billion increase. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released yesterday found the economic contribution


Links 25 November 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: 150 Years Of Bank Credit Expansion Is Near Its End – Zero Hedge Inside WeWork’s week from hell: How the mass layoffs went down – CNN Investors Bet on Volatility Comeback in 2020 – Stock Market News Angry savers emailed Janet Yellen: We’re getting crushed by low rates –


Weekend Reading: 23-24 November 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Famed economist David Rosenberg lays out the evidence that recession risks are alive and well – Business Insider The world’s best pension system is being pushed to the brink – CNN Full-blown profits recession could hit US in 2020 – CNBC The World May Have A Bigger Problem Than


Sydney schools run out of play space

The destruction of Australia’s once famed quality of life continues with Sydney’s schools fast running out of play space: Department of Education figures show 43 of the state’s 2200 schools have less than the required 10sqm of play space per student, although most were built decades ago in densely-populated inner city areas where land is


Slave driving Migration Institute screams exploitation

You have got to love the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) – the lobby group for Australia’s migration agents. For months the MIA has been lobbying the federal government to lower the disgracefully low salary floor on temporary ‘skilled’ migrants from the current $53,900 to between $30,000 and $45,000, on the grounds that the current


Sydney, Melbourne housing affordability worsens over decade

CoreLogic has released an interesting report showing that despite cratering mortgage rates and the recent steep housing correction, Sydney and Melbourne housing affordability is still worse than a decade ago: The decade ending in June 2019 has seen the national median dwelling value rise from $382,650 to $516,710, an annual increase of 3.0%. At the


As Victoria booms, Victorians go bust!

Last Friday, the ABS released its annual State Accounts, which prompted the below boast from Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas: Victoria has recorded its fourth consecutive year of above-trend economic growth in 2018-19, with results well above the national average and the highest of the mainland states. Australian Bureau of Statistics data released today shows Victoria’s


CoreLogic weekly house price update: Booming

In the week ended 21 November 2019, the CoreLogic 5-city daily dwelling price index, which covers the five major capital city markets, surged another 0.48%: The rise in values was broad-based, but again driven by Sydney followed by Melbourne: Quarterly dwelling values continue to rise strongly, driven by Sydney and Melbourne, where prices are rocketing:


International student whistle blower exonerated

In late September, it was revealed that Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk – one of the three whistle-blowing academics that appeared on Four Corners’ Cash Cows report into Australia’s international student industry – was being sued by Murdoch University for damaging the institution’s reputation and causing a fall in international student enrolments. This led to a strong