Editors’ Picks – 26th April 2015

This week we expose the troubling and deceptive application of economic modelling, learn of the dire behaviour of the World Bank and gain insight about the latest in China’s geo-strategic policy. On the domestic front, we explore the familiar issue of traffic congestion and question what is needed to help save the Federal Budget.

Spreadsheet of Power – Richard Denniss

Richard Denniss exposes the increasingly worrying use of economic modelling to circumvent democracy and shut down public debate. The clients who pay the best don’t want models that help us understand the costs and benefits of policy. They pay for fat reports that help conceal them, because the last thing they want is for you to pay attention.

How The World Bank Broke Its Promise To Protect The Poor  – Huffington Post

Why are more and more people finding themselves physically displaced and exposed to homelessness and abuse as a result of World Bank supported projects? Geo-political shifts have fuelled doubts about whether the Bank still has the clout or desire to impose strong protections for people living in the way of development. The World Bank is changing lives, and not necessarily for the better.

China agrees to invest $20bn in Venezuela to help offset effects of oil price slump – Jonathan Kaiman

China has agreed to invest $20 billion in Venezuela to be used for housing, energy and infrastructure projects. The move is part of an attempt by Beijing to boost its influence in a region that tends to look to the US as its largest trading partner. As China expands its sphere of influence over South America, what does this mean for the West?

Do more roads really mean less congestion for commuters? Mathew Beck, Michiel Bliemer

Transport management is an issue most people are familiar with, particularly in a city like Melbourne. Using game theory and the concept of induced demand,  Beck and Bliemer expose the disappointing fact that more roads won’t necessarily solve congestion issues in the long term. Let’s hope our public transport system steps up to pick up the slack.

We have to raise revenue, not just cut spending – Jessica Irvine

In an effort to decrease Australia’s budget deficit, Irvine suggests that there needs to be a shift in tactics. In conjunction to cutting spending, the Government needs to increase taxes. Australians are already forecasted to pay higher taxes due to a bracket creep on personal income tax, increasing GST, land tax. Ending negative gearing will help save the budget.