Blame Game on Inflation has Only Just Begun
Every inflationary episode embodies a power struggle within society over who benefits from inflation, who loses out – and who will bear the cost of getting inflation back down.
Surging mining sector profits are distorting Australia’s economy.
Profits in the mining sector are surging, but output is not – and the increased prices come at a cost to the rest of the economy
It’s not just mining – non-mining profits have also driven inflation
As the Reserve Bank continues to raise rates, it continues to misread the nature of inflation that is being driven largely by profits.
Australian Inflation Reflects a Historic Redistribution from Workers to Bosses
The upsurge of inflation since the COVID-19 lockdowns has not had equal impacts on all Australians. Workers and low-income people have experienced the worst losses: both because their incomes, in most cases, have not kept up with prices, and because they are more dependent on essential goods and services (like shelter, food, and energy) than higher-income households.
The Reserve Bank has delivered a massive credit crunch
The 300 basis point increase in the cash rates has delivered one of the biggest falls in lending ever seen. The risk of a recession to follow cannot be ignored
A Record Interest Shock Hitting Australian Households
The past 6 months has seen a record rise in the amount of interest households are having to pay
The RBA talks tough about low-rising wages but not soaring profits
Wages are rising within the RBA’s target band of inflation but profits are soaring 7 times that rate. And yet the RBA is more concerned with rising wages than profits
Job Opening: Carmichael Distinguished Research Fellow
The Carmichael Centre at the Centre for Future Work invites applications for the Laurie Carmichael Distinguished Research Fellow position. It’s a three-year posting, with awesome potential to explore a range of progressive issues related to unions, collective bargaining, industrial policy, and workers’ education.
A strong tax base reduces inequality
A strong, progressive tax base and quality public services are the keys to reducing inequality
Profits push up prices too, so why is the RBA governor only talking about wages?
Reserve Bank of Australia governor Phillip Lowe has invoked memories of the 1970s, warning wage growth must be restrained to contain Australia’s surging inflation. In the 1970s, Lowe said last week, “we got into trouble because wages growth responded mechanically to the higher inflation rate”. Now, with inflation above 5%, and tipped to reach 7% by the
Real wages are shrinking, these figures put it beyond doubt
Every three months the Bureau of Statistics releases the lesser-known cousin of the consumer price index. It’s called the Wage Price Index (WPI) and it records changes in the overall level of wages, in the same way the price index records changes in the overall level of consumer prices.
We (still) need to talk about insecure work
Business groups and conservative media are happy to discuss insecure work as if it is nothing new – stable and part of a healthy economy that provides workers with independence. But this is not the case, with insecure forms of work – casual, gigs, temporary work and short-term contracts – taking up a growing share of jobs in Australia.
Power, Not Just Supply and Demand, Vital to Future Wage Growth
Australia’s unemployment rate declined to 4.2% in December, and it could fall further (below 4%) in the coming year, barring further waves of COVID or other global shocks. This has some forecasters predicting a quick acceleration in wage growth — which has been stuck for almost a decade now at the slowest pace in Australia’s postwar history.
Of 3’s, and Other Important Labour Market Numbers
Will an unemployment rate with a 3 in front it, ensure that we also get wage growth with a 3 in front of it? Don’t count on it.
Centre for Future Work Announces Two Senior Appointments
The Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of two senior staff to its team of labour policy researchers.
Summer Series – Australia’s growing wages crisis with Sally McManus [webinar]
Our summer podcast series brings you some of the best conversations from our webinars in 2021. A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work was an essential element of the promise of Australia. The last 30 years have seen a dramatic shift of the share of Australia’s prosperity going to profit and away from
Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Labour Market Implications of Australia’s Failed COVID Strategy
As COVID and recession gripped the world, through 2020 and most of 2021 Australia recorded one of the best outcomes: lower infection, fewer deaths, and a faster, stronger economic recovery. That seeming victory has been squandered, however by the appalling and infuriating events of recent weeks. Purportedly in the name of ‘protecting the economy’, key political leaders (led by the Commonwealth and NSW governments) threw the doors open to the virus at exactly the wrong time: just as the super-infectious Omicron variant was taking hold.
Healthy humans drive the economy: we’re now witnessing one of the worst public policy failures in Australia’s history
Australians are getting a stark reminder about how value is actually created in an economy, and how supply chains truly work.
An Avoidable Catastrophe: Pandemic Job Losses in Higher Education
Australia’s universities were uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. Now, 18 months after the borders were first closed, things are getting worse for universities, not better.
Video: Myth & Reality About Technology, Skills & Jobs
We are constantly told that the world of work is being turned upside down by ‘technology’: some faceless, anonymous, uncontrollable force that is somehow beyond human control. There’s no point resisting this exogenous, omnipresent force. The best thing to do is get with the program… and learn how to program! Acquiring the right skills (usually assumed to be STEM or computer skills) is the best way to protect yourself in this brave new high-tech future.
Yes, lockdowns mean lost jobs. But data shows that not locking down causes much more economic damage
With new stay-at-home orders covering many parts of the province, Ontarians are settling in for a month (at least) of daunting isolation. Restrictions are also being tightened in other provinces to slow the spread of COVID-19, until vaccines can turn the tide of the pandemic. Despite accelerating infection and overflowing hospitals, many oppose the new restrictions on
Profile: Combining Economics and Social Justice
The Centre for Future Work’s Director Dr. Jim Stanford was recently profiled in a feature article published in In The Black, the journal of CPA Australia (the professional body for certified accountants in Australia). The profile, by journalist Johanna Leggatt, discusses the history of the Centre for Future Work, and Stanford’s philosophy of using popular economic knowledge to strengthen movements for social change and workers’ rights.
Porter IR Bill a Wish List for Business
Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter tabled an omnibus bill on 9 December containing multiple amendments to Australia’s labour laws, including the Fair Work Act. In theory, the bill is the outcome of a series of IR reform discussions the government launched during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time it heralded a new spirt of cooperation between business, unions, and the government — but that spirit didn’t last long. The bill accepts numerous business demands that will further liberalise casual work, undermine genuine collective bargaining, and generally suppress wages even more than they already are.
Austerity Would Damage Queensland’s Economic and Social Recovery
by Dan Nahum & Jim Stanford[Originally published via Medium, 26 Oct 2020] Like governments around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession knocked a huge hole in Queensland’s state budget. Big losses in revenues from the recession, combined with extra costs of fighting the pandemic, turned a planned $234 million operating surplus for this
Feature Interviews: Worker Voice in a Changing World of Work
The Centre for Future Work’s Jim Stanford, and Alison Pennington feature in a collection of interviews on technology, work, climate, and the role of unions, for a new online course Power, Politics and Influence at Work delivered by the University of Manchester, UK.
Budget’s Illusory Hope for Business-Led Recovery
The Commonwealth government tabled its 2020-21 budget on 6 October, six months later than the usual timing because of the dramatic events associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession. There is no doubt it is a budget unlike any other in Australia’s postwar history. While the budget certainly unleashes unprecedented fiscal power, its underlying logic and specific policy design are unsatisfactory in many ways. We present here analysis and commentary on several aspects of the budget, drawing on input from all of the Centre’s research staff: Economist and Director Dr. Jim Stanford, Senior Economist Alison Pennington, and Economist Dan Nahum.
Winning a Fair Share: Rebuilding Australia’s Manufacturing Base | Paul Bastian & Jim Stanford
As the pandemic interrupted global supply chains a lot of focus has shifted back onto Australia’s domestic manufacturing capabilities and what Australia has the capacity to make and manufacture onshore and research shows we’re lagging behind. In this episode we talk about the opportunities for manufacturing and why it’s vital to the economic success of
Protecting workers as the Economy Re-Opens with Sally McManus
The pandemic exposed a lot of the problems with our labour market, including the risks of the rise of precarious and insecure work. Today we’re bringing you another guest from our ‘Economics of a Pandemic’ webinar series: Sally McManus, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in conversation with Jim Stanford, economist and director
A renewably powered manufacturing sector with Ross Garnaut
Today’s episode is from one of our ‘Economics of a pandemic’ webinar series, featuring Professor Ross Garnaut, renowned economist and author of Superpower: Australia’s Low-Carbon Opportunity.Professor Garnaut was in conversation with economist and director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, Jim Stanford, and Dan Nahum – economist at the Centre for Future Work
Pandemic Shows Australia Needs Domestic Manufacturing
Disruptions in global supplies of essential medical equipment have served as a wake-up call to Australians that it is always vital for a country to retain the capacity to domestically produce manufactured products that may be crucial to national security and well-being.
Luciana Lawe Davies Media Adviser