I remember sitting in a finance lecture on superannuation, presumably paying little attention, until the lecturer suddenly decided to embark upon a tangential rant. Being an avid listener of talkback radio on the long drives to and from Monash University, Clayton, I had acquired a taste for the rhetorical art-form commonly known as ‘the rant’. I listened keenly.
In this week’s Editors’ Picks, we continue to monitor news surrounding the Australian budget deficit; we look at how the budget fell through, and new proposals to combat the situation. We also consider how changing the minimum wage rate may impact on employment and how to cope knowing a marketing crash is inevitable.
Paul Krugman wrote a famous paper in the 1990s outlining the myths surrounding the Asian miracle of the 20th century. Rather than it being a ‘miracle’, he presented a less dazzling critique of Asia’s economic success. He proposed that it was a combination of stringent government policy and the further adoption of free trade that was key to sustaining economic growth in East Asia. Most of this growth occurred in eight economies, collectively referred to as the High Performing Asian Economies (HPAEs) – Japan, Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and the newly industrializing Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand . The relationship between public policy and economic growth is now more important than ever, and in light of the continuing economic crisis in Europe, there are a number of lessons to be learnt from the success of the HPAEs.
In his 1936 book ‘The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money’ John Maynard Keynes outlined how rather than being independently rational, investors were often prone to erratic herd-like behaviour. He argued that macroeconomic stability is inherently vulnerable to the ‘animal spirits’ of speculators. The recent deflation of the post Global Financial Crisis (GFC) gold price bubble is a prime example of this phenomenon.
Twelve years after being named the next global economic powerhouses, the Brazilian, Russian, Indian, Chinese and South African governments, also known as the BRICS economies, have decided to embrace a de facto union, and had numerous economic meetings between the countries’ leaders. The group demands international attention. Brazil can offer the world enormous amounts of agricultural goods, China is the world’s second largest economy with a massive cheap labour force, India offers itself as a source of inexpensive intellectual resources, and Russia is now the world’s largest mineral exporter. The group are now considering making a formal alliance, following a meeting of all five countries in Durban. Such a move would most likely create one of the world’s most powerful unions of the twenty-first century, and surely the most diverse we have seen thus far.