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The Great Deformation

David Stockman’s ‘The Great Deformation’: doomsday ramblings or insightful criticism of modern financial systems? Hungy reads to find out.

The end of good times? The mining boom re-examined

This article is one of two Q&A specials informing the reader on a topic of economic importance to Australia that was discussed by the panel on the night.
In the past few years Australia has experienced one of the longest and largest increases in the value of the mining sector, seeing it grow to account for approximately 52% of all exports produced by Australia and worth $164 Billion a year[1]. Similarly, mining related investments in Australia now comprise some 40% of all investments undertaken, up from 10% before the boom and accounting for $80 billion a year — more than any other country in the developed world.

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The Rational Fare Evader

Fare evading, i.e. not paying for the use of public transport, is a fairly significant issue for public transport providers. The Victorian Transport Authority has been tracking the estimated number of commuters who regularly fare evade and as you can see there is a sizeable portion who do this on a regular basis, ranging from roughly 5% to 20% of Victorian commuters (fig 1). There are potentially many causes for fare evading: I had the misfortune of forgetting to touch on to a crowded tram the other day which resulted in a discussion about these causes. This eventually led to the quip “if you get caught – just fare evade until you break even!”

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A beginner's guide to the Federal Budget

The Australian federal budget comes out tonight, detailing the government’s financial performance and future plans. Hungy Ye has the rundown on what to expect, and why this whole budget thing is important in the first place.

Chinese GDP and growth: What's in a number?

Recently China’s president Xi Jinping was quoted in saying that China’s GDP growth will be subdued in the foreseeable future, relative to the rapid growth in the past decade. China’s official newspaper Xinhua has put the internal target at 7.5% p.a. for 2013 from a 7.8% p.a. actual figure achieved in 2012, and many are undoubtedly aware that this is a 13-year record low. Exactly how much has the world’s second largest economy grown by and how has China done it?

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The BitCoin: 'In no one we trust'

Last year I wrote a few articles discussing the origins of money and how its development arose from the need to have some sort of commonly accepted medium for storing and exchanging value, led by governments who could enforce and guarantee the value of currency.  More generally, this is the case for the vast majority of assets as there must be some guarantee of value before a counterparty would be willing to make a trade: a stake in a company for shares, the right to collateral for debt and a government backing for fiat currencies. Rationally it doesn’t make much sense for people to use something without any form of intrinsic value or guarantee as a medium for exchange.
One of my interests is exploring these anomalies in the economy and it just so happens that such a currency has emerged: it is called the BitCoin, a virtual currency which can be created and used by running a program on your average home PC.

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ESSA Q&A: Panellist Biographies

This semester ESSA’s flagship event is a Q&A, where we have invited six illustrious panellists to share their viewpoints and discuss two issues that confront Australia on a nationwide scale: Immigration and the two-speed economy. With the event just around the corner, you might like to know a little more on each of our guests. Read on for a short bio on each of the panellists and discover what unique experiences each of them brings to the discussion.

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The Euro Crisis (Continued): Time to make a choice?

It is now July 2012, almost three years since the chain of events that set in motion what is now called the Euro Crisis and surprisingly enough, the world is still waist deep in the middle of it. In my previous article I attempted to diagnose what was causing the breakup and why there was so little action taken, and regardless of whether it was for those reasons, just from looking at the EUR/AUD exchange rate it’s easy to see that the situation has been deteriorating continuously ever since the end of the global financial crisis and despite several attempts to change things, it has not really improved.

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