economy

I know exactly where I was on August 9, 2007. It was a hot summer’s day — “debtonation day”.

Bankers all over the world had lost their collective nerve and refused to lend to each other. The globally synchronised financial system froze, and began its descent into sustained failure. It then took more than a year, and Lehman Brothers’ collapse, before the world understood the gravity of the crisis.

Ten years on, that slow-motion crisis, a prolonged period of disinflation, noflation and deflation, is still playing out.

Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk’s 2015 election commitments to transparent decision making, no “secret deals” and that the Adani project must “stand alone on its feet ... on the economics of the project itself” have been challenged by documents released under a Right to Information request.

As the 19th round of trade negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) took place in Hyderabad, India from 17-28 July, trade unions and civil society groups in the country have joined forces to voice concerns over the trade deal, and called for more transparency. 

RCEP is a proposed mega regional free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated by 16 countries, including ASEAN members and its six FTA partners — namely India, China, Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

US exports to China totalled US$116 billion last year, while its imports reached $463 billion. The $347 billion deficit accounts for almost 70% of the US’s total trade deficit.

US President Donald Trump’s most influential senior advisers, Peter Navarro, who heads the National Trade Council, and US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross, call China “the biggest trade cheater in the world”.

Federal government hospital spending rose by 80% in the decade to 2014, from $23 billion to $42 billion. This has led to a renewed push by conservatives for a new state income tax to fund health costs.

The rise to power of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has been built on a paradigm of development and anti-corruption that has enabled him to develop sustained electoral support among the Indian middle classes and rehabilitate his image as a statesman on the international stage.

But the neoliberal model of development that Modi represents is one that comes at great cost in terms of economic inequality and basic civil rights.

Much has been made of the fact that on June 23, the same day the Fair Work Commission slashed penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers, federal politicians were granted yet another pay rise.

Power and gas prices are set to rise by a huge 16–19% on July 1, bringing a profit bonanza to the big three electricity companies — AGL, Origin and Energy Australia.

This unpopular price hike comes in the context of record low wage growth, record high housing prices and record levels of household debt.

The federal government is covering for the price hikes by blaming state governments for ruling out unconventional gas (Victoria), or moving too fast to renewables and not planning ahead (South Australia).

Few would have predicted, until recent times, that the biggest act at the Glastonbury music festival would be a 68-year-old socialist reciting a 200-year-old poem.

Yet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s June 24 speech at Glastonbury attracted what was likely the largest crowd in the festival’s history, NME said.

Many environmentalists were disappointed, if not outraged, at Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market, released on June 9, which sought to stabilise the existing electricity market.

At the same time, the failure of the privatised and deregulated electricity grid led NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham to call for its nationalisation as the only way to solve its intractable problems.

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