Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens put it eloquently yesterday when he complained that economic discussion in this country has “reached a rather curious position”.
An objective observer arriving from overseas, according to the Governor, would feel that Australia’s glass is at least half full, but Australians themselves are “grimly determined to see our glass as half empty”. In a speech to a business lunch in Adelaide, Stevens said: “Numerous foreign visitors to the Reserve Bank have remarked on the surprising extent of this pessimism.
“Each time I travel abroad I am struck by the difference between the perceptions held by foreigners about Australia and what I read in the newspapers at home.”
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We might as well put today’s “stunning” set of economic figures down to the Transit of Venus. At least we knew that was coming.
As Lucy explained to us yesterday, while rafts of economists were split three ways on what the RBA would do with interest rates: “Astrologically speaking the Transit of Venus symbolises a time of hope and optimism, and many believe will signal the end of a particularly bad patch of economic woes.”
And then today, as Venus made it’s wondrous progress across the face of the sun, Wayne Swan got to gloat about a set of economic indicators no-one foresaw.
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On May 25, 1961 United States President John F Kennedy proposed to the Congress that the nation set a goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely by the end of the decade.
Kennedy’s comments not only fired the gun in the space race but they also began a productivity revolution. The US would invest heavily in mathematicians and scientists, research and development that would drive innovation and change the nature of business and lifestyles forever.
In the last 50 years technology has been the game changer when it comes to productivity. The introduction of the personal computer and internet to business has revolutionised communications and interaction between businesses particularly in the global context.
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Consumer spending is good, right? We are told in the media all the time to spend more, and we worry when “consumer confidence” is down. Why is that?
In short, the answer is because we have a GDP to look after. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is one of our key financial indicators, and in developed western societies consumer spending makes up approximately 65 per cent of GDP.
If consumer spending is a large determinant of GDP, then the more we spend the higher our GDP and the better the economy. So if we are being told to spend just so we have an increasingly higher GDP, then someone, somewhere must have worked out that this must be good for its citizens right?
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