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An overview of the 2013 Australian federal election campaign

This article forms part of an ongoing series looking at economic issues as Australia heads into the Federal Election. More coverage can be found on the Election 2013 page of ESSA’s website.

The primary objective of a major party leader during an election campaign is to gain any advantage possible over one’s opponent. The incumbent ostensibly has a slight advantage in that they get to choose the election date.

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Should you be studying?

From discussing the possibilities of making tertiary education more accessible, I now segue to the other side of the debate: Are there too many people getting university degrees, and are they worth it?

The issue is exacerbated in the US, where the stakes are so much higher. A college education not only incorporates all the learning during the years of your degree, but is also the quintessential cultural experience of every middle-class youth: from madly rushing fraternities, to playing beer pong at the pre-football match tailgate party, to sharing the best places on campus for an all-nighter before finals – there comes a time in every man’s life, and college is not that time. But behind all the fun are the hours spent working and the years of family planning to accumulate the college fund necessary to pay for the degree.

Peter Theil, American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, hedge fund manager, first outside investor in Facebook and all-round success-story offers his two cents:

“Education is a bubble in a classic sense…It’s basically extremely overpriced. People are not getting their money’s worth…And at the same time it is something that is incredibly intensely believed; there’s this sort of psycho-social component to people taking on these enormous debts when they go to college simply because that’s what everybody’s doing.”1

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America Votes – The Land of Great Contrasts

As Chris continues his travels across the United States, he reflects on his cross-country journey observing how the world’s leading economy is such a contrasting display of economic highs and lows.

If I’ve learnt anything during my two-week visit to the United States it’s that this a country of unparalleled contrasts.

There’s the powerful marriage of individuality and a sense of community, unlike anywhere else on earth.

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A Fifty Year Old Fallacy

February marked the anniversary of the fifty years of the Cuban embargo enforced by the US. The promulgation of the Cuban Democracy Act in 1961 reflected the policy of containment that was to prevent the extension of the relationship between Cuba and the Soviet Union after the embarrassing Bay of Pigs invasion. Six months later, the world was at the height of Cold War tensions with the Cuban missile crisis.

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