A truth serum for globalisation

COVID-19 is a heartlessly protectionist infection that is revealing weaknesses in Australia’s economy that need addressing

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 18 March 2020

The world is awash with money as governments everywhere fire up the printing presses. How well it is targeted will determine whether the aftermath is a debt hangover or an economy with stronger foundations.

According to the latest Roy Morgan figures, more than 60 per cent of all Australian businesses are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 downturn. Some industries, especially tourism and travel, are catastrophically hit. Others are feeling the flow-on effects of reduced demand for their services by the most affected sectors. Eventually almost all businesses will be forced to confront the challenges of the downturn. Redundancies are inevitable. Continue reading

Panic tests the trust of nations

In infected countries the spread of the virus is driving a wedge between citizens, governments, and the rest of the world.

This article originally appears in the Australian Financial Review on 4 March 2020

For the Australian citizens in Wuhan, it came down to trust. Those citizens who took up the offer to be evacuated to quarantine in the Christmas Island refugee processing centre trusted the Australian government over the Chinese government.

As the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe, trust between citizens and government, between neighbours, and between neighbouring nations is being tested.

The virus is revealing and exacerbating existing national and international tensions. The Schengen dream of a borderless Europe has been under strain over the past few years; Brexit was only the most visible revolt against its supranational vision. Now the borders of Europe are creeping back into place, this time in the name of public health. Continue reading

The anti-Morrison pile-on will bolster his base

Like the “Never Trump” bubble in the US, the perverse effect of this summer’s anti-Morrison pile-on will be to bolster the Prime Minister’s political base.

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 18 February 2020.

It is a truism that Australia trails the world by 10 years on any major trend, but in this era of globalisation, we catch on faster to some of the most odious cultural movements.

Notable among these is the way in which some American media has merged itself into the Never Trump movement, a completely counterproductive move that has increased polarisation and has the perverse effect of making Trump’s followers double down in support of him – regardless of how heinously he disregards accountability. Continue reading