Editors’ Picks – April 20 2014

This week in Editors’ Picks we discuss tax reform, Australian manufacturing, our housing affordability problem, whether economists are too concerned with maths, and the effects of technology on future economic prospects.

Tax reform is hard…so it’s time for an independent tax board – Warwick Smith

The lack of response to structural issues within the Australian tax system has made it increasingly difficult for the federal government to balance the budget. In light of this, Warwick Smith champions the unique proposal of an ‘Independent Taxation Board’ who would be charged with enacting taxes and raising revenue.

When you buy a house, you shouldn’t buy the neighbourhood with it – Matt Cowgill

Australia’s escalating housing affordability problem has seen house prices growing significantly faster than incomes over the past 15 years. Matt Cowgill argues that Australian housing is more expensive than it should be as a result of increased restrictions to development.

Where to now for Australian manufacturing? – Eoin Hahessy

Employment in Australia’s manufacturing sector has been steadily declining for the past 40 years, prompting debate on future courses of action in the field. Eoin Hahessy insightfully draws from a range of viewpoints to examine various aspects of the current situation.

Modern economists are clever with numbers but way out of tune – Ross Gittins

Using the basic concept of opportunity cost as an example, Gittins considers whether economics has ‘lost its way’ in using mathematics to make itself more academically respectable.

The Future of Economic Progress – Kemal Derviş

The onset of a new technological revolution provokes the question of whether it will impede long-term growth, or bring about increased prosperity. Kemal Derviş contends that a new conceptual framework is required in considering economic progress, in which the advancement of human progress is paramount.