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Editors’ Picks — 3rd May 2015

In this week’s Editors’ Picks we take a look at the currency war, grapple with the idea of an East-West Link 2.0, look at the struggles of the Australian agriculture industry, question how secure Australia’s AAA rating is and, finally, uncover who the true battlers are when it comes to negative gearing.

Free trade nations

With slowing growth in the BRICS and the underwhelming recovery in the U.S., many nations around the world are looking to free trade. Australia, among others, has been negotiating agreements with Asia, forming the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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Small Man Syndrome

The Federal Government recently announced measures to assist Australian farmers in restructuring their debt and to invest in productivity. Among the measures include concessional loans of up to $650,000 for debt-ridden farmers.
The announcement came just days after the premier of WA rejected calls by the state’s farmers for further financial assistance from the state government.  Premier Colin Barnett suggested that some farmers “probably need to leave”. Moreover, according to the Director of the Bankers’ Association, to some “things aren’t too bad” for farmers, and believes that the recent measures are merely to replace the Exceptional Circumstance assistance scheme.
Such comments have not gone down well with farmers.

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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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