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Analysis and Comment (47)

News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch has been given plenty of opportunities to air his agenda ahead of the G20 summit. Jason Reed/Reuters Pool/AAP

Murdoch discovers inequality, but he’s not on ‘Team Australia’

Rupert Murdoch’s special address to an exclusive meeting of the world’s most powerful finance ministers got a second airing this week. In a breathless front-page “exclusive” in The Australian, Paul Kelly…
The Slave Trade painted by a French abolitionist artist.

Slavery in America: back in the headlines

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look…
Australia’s highest paid CEO Nicholas Moore saw his salary grow to $13.1 million this year. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

CEO pay study shows how much Australians tolerate inequality

Almost everyone in a study soon to be published in Perspectives on Psychological Science thinks chief executive officers are paid significantly too much - almost everyone it suggests, except Australians…
Counting your blessings. A worker at a chocolate factory in Germany. Jan Woitas/EPA

German labour markets put Europe’s workforce in the firing line

Germany’s strategy for export-led growth has set the Eurozone up for a fall. Plans to introduce minimum wages in 2015 might be too little too late for European countries locked in a futile game of beggar-thy-workforce…
Generation austerity no longer believes the future will be better than the present. lilgamerboy14

Austerity has hampered our ability to imagine a better future

In the UK and other parts of the Western world, the notion that we are progressing towards a better future has been a consistent, if not entirely uninterrupted, ideal. But in recent years, this idea seems…
Has our use of economics language been a real driver of economic growth? Cau Napoli Collettivo Autorganizzato Universitario di Napoli/Flickr

Speak well of the bourgeois, and prosper

Do the words we use to speak of economic matters, matter? I believe they do, but not by the propagation of textbookish jargon. Rather, the main way they matter is in shaping public ethics. Economics has…
Poorer people are more vulnerable to the impact of extreme weather events. Pictured: the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. DFID - UK Department for International Development/Flickr

Climate change will widen the social and health gap

Climate projections suggest that, thanks to human activity, we will likely see an increase in extreme weather events, disruptions to agriculture, loss of livelihoods and displacement of people. While everyone…
Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz says Australia should make sure its international “brand name” is for its high-quality services. EPA/Arne Dedert

Audio Q&A: Professor Joseph Stiglitz on inequality, rent-seeking and Australia’s ‘brand name’

Nobel Laureate and renowned economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz has been packing out lecture theatres in Australia in the past week. During his whirlwind tour, he’s talked about why inequality matters…
Joe Hockey greets Sydney Institute executive director Gerard Henderson ahead of a speech arguing the merits of the budget. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Hockey’s fairness lecture won’t help him fix the budget

One month on, the job of selling Australia’s budget continues. Treasurer Joe Hockey argues criticism of the budget has been unfair and misguided, akin to class warfare. He has countered the critics by…
OECD data shows some of the most vulnerable in society suffered disproportionately after the last financial crisis. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Why the federal budget should get a ‘fail’ from the G20

Everybody would agree that growth, defined as a steady increase in gross domestic product, is a necessary condition for economic development. There is simply no country that has reduced poverty and improved…
Monumental economics? Time will tell for Thomas Piketty’s ideas on wealth inequality. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Thomas Piketty: the next Marx or a Malthus of our time?

Thomas Piketty’s recent book on the long-term patterns in wealth inequality, Capital in the 21st Century, has ignited a passionate debate both within academia and, perhaps more interestingly, the wider…
The fair go has been selectively reinterpreted as applying only to competitive opportunities for the economically productive. John Englart (Takver)/Flickr

The state of Australia: welfare and inequality

In the lead-up to the budget, the story of crisis has been hammered home, but there’s more to a country than its structural deficit. So how is Australia doing overall? In this special series, ten writers…
It’s unrealistic and unfair to expect everyone to have the same retirement age. Shutterstock

The pension age is rising to 70: a case of one size fits some

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey has confirmed the pension age will rise to 70 by 2035, meaning all Australians currently aged under 50 will be affected. It follows a recommendation from the Commission…
Even as Australia is preparing for deep budget cuts, a new book questions the basic theory of economic growth.

We don’t need 19th century inequality to achieve 21st century growth

The Coalition government is currently rehearsing a well-honed rhetoric on “everyone having to do the heavy lifting” to justify Treasurer Joe Hockey’s slash and burn budget on social services and pension…
This train will not be stopping at jail. Ed Schipul

The 1% game the system and the rest no longer want to play

Every year I ask my class on “Wealth and Poverty” to play a simple game. I have them split up into pairs, and imagine I’m giving one of them $1,000. They can keep some of the money only on condition they…
How can ‘disadvantaged’ students engage better in school? www.shutterstock.com.au

Education policy is failing to fix the biggest problem: inequality

The Conversation is running a series, Class in Australia, to identify, illuminate and debate its many manifestations. Here, John Smyth identifies the failure of government policies to tackle the nation’s…
Issues around ‘who gets what’ in Australia may soon become much more central to political debate than under previous governments. AAP/Alan Porritt

Denial to celebration: political responses to class in Australia

The Conversation is running a series, Class in Australia, to identify, illuminate and debate its many manifestations. Here, Geoffrey Robinson traces the history of Australian political debate on class…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s free market, small government leaning overlooks the real issue of social inequality. Lukas Coch/AAP

Why Abbott can’t delete ‘society’ from his economic growth script

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s address to the World Economic Forum in January delivered a plain, pragmatic message. The best remedy for the uneven recovery of the world economy, according to Abbott, is a…
Obama promises to address inequality through his executive powers if the US Congress won’t. EPA/Larry Downing

Obama’s year of action on inequality couldn’t come soon enough

US President Barack Obama is preparing to move on inequality after several long years of frustrated reform, if we are to believe his State of the Union address. This year, according to Obama, is a “year…
Cold steel: George Osborne visits JCB’s factory in Staffordshire. Rui Vieira/PA

Finance wages soar while manufacturing flatlines

George Osborne promised Britain a “march of the makers” – but as yet, there is little sign that a resurgence of manufacturing is helping the economy to rebalance. It would be naïve to assume that manufacturing…
Plenty of food in the shops, so why are people going hungry? Julien Behal/PA

Banks are booming again, but so are food banks

The only things that seem to be really growing in the UK and US economies these days are hunger and food insecurity. The growth of food banks and other forms of hunger-relief charities is a strong reminder…
Prioritising physical activity and healthy eating is having a positive impact on childhood obesity in the United States. Korean Resource Center/Flickr

Lessons for Australia from US reversal of childhood obesity

Childhood obesity prevalence is alarmingly high in many developed countries; in Australia, one in four children is overweight or obese, while in the United States, it’s one in three. But recent American…
Electorally, we are assumed to live in an economy, not a society which protects its most vulnerable members. Flickr/Viewminder

Election 2013 Issues: Australians, one and all?

Welcome to the The Conversation’s Election 2013 State of the Nation essays. These articles by leading experts in their field provide an in-depth look at the key policy challenges affecting Australia as…
Unequal access to technology and technological literacy are the biggest challenges to open health. Stethoscope image from www.shutterstock.com

Diagnosing the inequality problems of open health

Open health programs create a range of ethical concerns. Some of these are old, and some are new; some need action now, and some need a longer view. Responding to these concerns requires the use of a limited…
White, monolingual, male: the make up of many of Australia’s ASX companies fail to reflect our cultural and gender diversity. AAP

To engage with Asia, we must be multicultural in more than name

The recent Ethnic Business Awards were a celebration of entrepreneurship, pioneering and determination and above all the immense contribution that our migrant population has made to a better Australia…
Some people could be left behind in the digital revolution in higher education. Divide image from www.shutterstock.com

Online education: can we bridge the digital divide?

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: We continue our series on the rise of online and blended learning and how free online courses are set to transform the higher education sector. Today, Tim Pitman writes on who…
The debate around teacher quality should be informed by research, not hunches and misinformation. Teacher image from www.shutterstock.com

A political education: hijacking the quality teaching movement

All we seem to hear about these days is failing teachers in failing schools. Those from business, government and the field of economics have all weighed in, criticising teachers, teacher educators and…
Schools funding is back in the headlines, but what’s needed is a wider debate about equality. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Gonski, inequality and schools funding: what the debate needs right now

Imagine a field of wheat which has been watered unequally. Some parts will grow to their potential, but some won’t. In the end, it’s bad for the whole field’s productivity. Economist James Galbraith’s…
The poorest people in the world have the largest burden of disease. Jon Baldock

Obesity, poverty and inequality: weighty problems for all of us

A somewhat diverting paper on obesity came out earlier this week. It’s based on a cute idea – looking at what overweight people do to global resource requirements instead of the more traditional approach…
Arguments against taxing the super rich are centred around the notion that wealth encourages investment and creates jobs. But what about the effects of income inequality? R SH

Invested interests: debunking the economic case for the one percent

In a widely anticipated forthcoming book, Edward Conard – a former Bain Capital colleague of Mitt Romney’s – has advanced the arguments that investment drives economic growth, and that deregulation and…
The poorest 20% of Australians own just 1% of total household wealth. AAP

The Boom: Australians dramatically misperceive wealth inequality

Lost amidst the chatter about carbon taxes, mining regulation, and the “two-speed economy” is a much more elemental question—at heart, what kind of society do Australians really want to live in? In particular…

Research and News (2)