Plain English Blog

What’s occupying Occupy?


by Andrew Pegler The Occupy movement has travelled well since kicking off, or should I say sitting down, in Manhattan a few months ago. Perhaps it’s a zeitgeist thing, the time is nigh and all that. A lot of angry people reckon “the system” has let them down. On that I offer no opinion; every argument has two sides. But today let’s explore what’s bugging Occupy. Right now a generation… Continue reading →


The Job’s not done yet


At the time of his death, Steve Jobs was working on a universal, cashless payment option using 190 million iTunes accounts. According to the Australian Payments Clearing Association, Australians have turned from cash in droves in the last few years. Thousands of ATMs have closed and similar numbers of Eftpos machines have been installed. As I’ve written before, the decline of cash is a global trend from Nigeria to Nicaragua,… Continue reading →


Show us the money, Wayne!


A sovereign wealth fund is essential for Australia. We don’t have one. We should. While the world must envy our natural resources, they’d have to be shaking their heads at how we’re squandering it. Norway, with less than 5 million people, has saved around $500 billion from its North Sea oil windfall. And they put it in a fund to underwrite their long-term prosperity. In comparison, we haven’t really saved… Continue reading →


When Moore’s law doesn’t always mean more


Let’s try something a little out of left field. It may sound a tad incongruous but bear with me. It could have a greater impact on your future finances than you might imagine possible. Because today we’re going to look at Moore’s law and its possible impact on your job, and your kids’ jobs. Moore’s law states that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated… Continue reading →


You say two speed economy


I say multidirectional economy As previously discussed, a sustained and unprecedented increase in our terms of trade is reshaping the structure of our economy. This is driving the AUD higher, which is good for importers and for Aussies travelling overseas but an absolute shocker for international educators, retailers and manufacturers. Mind you the decline of manufacturing has been a long time coming and, as I mentioned the other week, is… Continue reading →


Not all good news is good news


High petrol prices seem to be a part of life nowadays, but do they have to be that high? One of the biggest drivers of recent price increases has been the turmoil in the Middle East. Most notably, the struggle against Gaddafi in Libya has knocked about a million barrels a day out of global supply. Prior to the uprising, the Libyan regime could be counted on for a reliable… Continue reading →


Why we need manufacturing


Manufacturing is a bit like hair, you won’t realise how much you liked it until it’s gone. As I wrote last week, the current squeeze on manufacturing is part of an unstoppable ‘structural change’ led chiefly by the cheaper labour offered by a rapidly industrialising Asia. Basically manufacturing is more globalised and Australia is being priced out of the market. What’s left in our economy is being reallocated to the… Continue reading →


The cashless economy Pt 1


Andrew Pegler – 24 June 2011 A tiny computer chip inside your next Smartphone may replace cash. Picture this: Five years from now you’re at Harvey Norman when an employee announces a new special on the loudspeaker. “Buy a television in-store and get 10% off – if you pay with your smartphone.” You whip out your phone and it automatically details all your previous purchases at said store: Your sound… Continue reading →


Coming to terms with our terms of trade


Andrew Pegler – 17 June 2011 You’ve heard about Australia’s rising “terms of trade”, but what does it mean? Well, if you have a vague idea that the terms of trade (let’s call it TOT) is related to exports and the mining boom, you’re right. But that’s not all; it’s also about imports. And finally, most importantly for us, it’s about our real incomes in the global economy. First the… Continue reading →


The latest on house prices


Andrew Pegler – 10 June 2011   Is that the pitta patter of a big drop I can hear coming down the stairs? It’s part of Aussie folklore now, that we dodged a bullet during the GFC. But if you ever get a nagging feeling that we didn’t dodge it permanently, that our desperate cleverness just temporarily propped up our house of cards, it might please you – or not… Continue reading →


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