Articles on Inequality

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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…
Hold on to your seats, it’s academy time! Matt Cardy/PA Archive

‘4,000 down, 20,000 to go’ – the academies drive gathers pace

It was early and still quiet as I meandered around the recent Academies Show in London. Jars of promotional pens and key chains were lined up, while two young people in smocks painted the words “innovation…
Monumental economics? Time will tell for Thomas Piketty’s ideas on wealth inequality. Image sourced from

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?

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…

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