subsidy

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A half-hearted defence of the pharmaceutical industry

Exorbitant drug pricing by Big Pharma is often viewed as exploitative and unfair to those who don’t have the support of insurance or government subsidies. Justin Liu sort-of explains why it might be a necessary evil.

How do we put a price on Olympic Success?

Just admit it: watching a gold medalist, tears streaming down their cheeks, standing on the podium to the sound of “Advance Australia Fair” elicits a feeling of pride in most Australians.

Yet how, might we ask, does one put a price on gold medal glory? What trade offs do we face by allocating millions to our few sporting champions? And what are the opportunity costs involved in subsidising an athlete’s preparation for an event held once every four years?

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The ugly (economic) truth about our food industry

When we walk into a major supermarket, some of us expect to fill our trolleys with nutritious food for the week ahead, but nowadays what we’re presented with is a plethora of products. Disregarding perhaps the periphery of the supermarket where the organic fruits and vegetables are, we’re presented with shelves upon shelves of pre-packaged products that no longer resemble food at all. There are aluminium cans of soft drink, fruit juice boxes that have undergone aseptic processing, foil chip packets filled with oxygen, and in the meat aisle we have identical cuts of bacon in vacuum-sealed plastic. Everything has been processed, packaged and with the help of marketing, made to look enticing and palatable. Sadly, a tomato is no longer a tomato – the marriage of economics, science and technology carries it from seed to plate in the most economically efficient manner. Many ‘food products’ today are mass-produced by large multinational corporations who prioritise efficiency, profits and turnover over the health of arguably their most important asset, their consumers.

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Move over BRICS, the “Next Eleven” has emerged

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.[1] 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.

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