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Opinion & Commentary


Opinion and Commentary contains media articles written by CIS researchers.  Communications Manager: Karla Pincott 0411 759 934

  • Mercantilist mindset and good fortune make successful China policy

    12 Dec 2014 | Business Spectator

    While the Abbott government trumpets its China-Australia free trade agreement win, it continues to stumble over the non-commercial aspects of China policy. Read More

  • Personal freedom leads to economic freedom

    27 Oct 2014 | Australian Financial Review

    It is clear now that economic liberty has supported a massive global reduction of poverty, disease and other key factors. It is also clear that the relationship holds—even controlling for geography,... Read More

  • Scapegoating investors won’t slow up house prices

    10 Jul 2014 | The Australian Financial Review

    Unless global real interest rates rise significantly in the future, the gains in house prices are unlikely to be unwound. Read More

  • Protectionism no cure for our woes

    13 Feb 2014 | ABC The Drum

    We need to understand why the automotive industry is shutting up shop and avoid resorting to protectionism. Read More

  • Giving Holden money is like putting a Band-Aid on a corpse

    11 Dec 2013 | The Australian Financial Review

    It’s time for politicians to get real and admit that taxpayer handouts are political, not economic, decisions. Read More

  • Seizing a Sino free trade moment

    16 Jul 2013 | Business Spectator

    Australia’s regulation of foreign direct investment is a critical stumbling block in a free trade agreement with China. Read More

  • It's time to put the break on corporate welfare

    23 May 2013 | The Drum

    Corporate welfare for a favoured few - like Australia's car manufacturers - cannot be justified. Read More

  • The magic pudding state

    23 Apr 2013 | The Drum

    Australians want government to spend more money on us, but we do not want to hand any more of our cash over to the tax office. Read More

  • A failure of enterprise bargaining mechanics

    30 Jan 2013 | Business Spectator

    Australia's current enterprise bargaining system makes it difficult for automotive manufacturers to improve their performance and save jobs. Read More

  • Fairness is not equality

    26 Nov 2012 | Australian Financial Review

    Income equality is not achievable, it is not desirable and it is not fair. Read More

  • Self-sustaining leviathan

    23 Oct 2012 | ON LINE Opinion

    How does Australia compare in the welfare dependency stakes? Read More

  • Independent body needed to preserve integrity of fiscal forecasts

    21 May 2012 | The Conversation

    Treasury has not gone wrong in its forecast for recovery, but in its expectations for the preceding downturn. Read More

  • Greens have got us tilting at windmills

    30 Apr 2012 | The Daily Telegraph

    The debate on climate change has less to do with scientific rationalism and more with the dogma of religious faith. Read More

  • Carmaker triumph or GM hypocrisy?

    29 Mar 2012 | Business Spectator

    It's a product of public relations that Australians believe every government supports its own car industry, and looking at General Motors' ruthless cost-cutting of its European brands puts even more focus... Read More

  • EU referendum is a bad Irish joke

    22 Mar 2012 | Business Spectator

    Economically, whatever happens in Ireland will not be decisive for the future of the euro. That is more likely being decided in Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Athens and Lisbon. But to the rest of Europe watching... Read More

  • Striking a French euro tinderbox

    14 Mar 2012 | Business Spectator

    Either Sarkozy or Hollande will win France’s presidential elections, but the project of European cooperation and integration will surely lose. And the political uncertainty dominating the coming months... Read More

  • The hypocrisy of Europe's bankers

    08 Mar 2012 | The Business Spectator

    As the eurozone crisis has now seemingly calmed down and my friend’s updates become more ecstatic by the week, I am afraid that we are edging ever closer towards his dream scenario. To most Europeans,... Read More

  • A zero-sum carbon game

    01 Mar 2012 | Business Spectator

    There is no point trying to subsidise reductions in carbon emissions if the total amount of emissions is capped anyway. Read More

  • Returning to old European rivalries

    23 Feb 2012 | Business Spectator

    Europeans may one day wake up in an environment of revived national rivalries, new political extremism and a continent without the open borders they once took for granted. This could be a tragedy even... Read More

  • In search of a Greek hero

    14 Feb 2012 | Business Spectator

    To escape from its current mess, Greece does not need more Sisyphus work. It needs someone to tackle the Herculean task of cutting the country loose from Europe’s monetary union. Read More

  • Hallmarks of an EU power play

    24 Jan 2012 | Business Spectator

    The tragedy of the European crisis is not that it was caused by striving for too much economic efficiency. The real tragedy is that it could have been predicted by public choice theory. Read More

  • Why Merkozy is destined to fail

    12 Jan 2012 | Business Spectator

    The eurozone crisis may soon return with more bad news from bond markets. Pity Europe’s leaders are too busy to deal with it. Read More

  • Testing the RBA's DNA

    05 Jan 2012 | Business Spectator

    As a practical first step towards more RBA independence, perhaps politicians of all parties could refrain from both applauding and criticising RBA decisions. It is none of their business. Read More

  • Testing the RBA's DNA

    05 Jan 2012 | Business Spectator

    As a practical first step towards more RBA independence, perhaps politicians of all parties could refrain from both applauding and criticising RBA decisions. It is none of their business. Read More

  • A wild forecast for Euro pain

    22 Dec 2011 | Business Spectator

    You may think that all of this sounds utterly ludicrous, and perhaps you are right. But ask yourself whether only two years ago you could have imagined elected prime ministers being replaced by technocrats,... Read More

  • A British pawn in Europe's game

    14 Dec 2011 | Business Spectator

    Perhaps it is dawning on Cameron that he had been moved like a pawn on a chessboard by his continental friends. His insistence to act in Britain’s national interest mainly served to promote the interests... Read More

  • Germany's blissful euro ignorance

    08 Dec 2011 | Business Spectator

    It is only a matter of time until reality will catch up with the Germans at some stage. But don’t wake them up just yet. They won’t have their Christmas holidays spoilt just because some countries... Read More

  • Merkozy's palliative care pact

    28 Nov 2011 | Business Spectator

    The euro won’t survive a day longer just because of the political marriage of the German chancellor and the French president. But their botched crisis management indeed makes the time until its eventual... Read More

  • No fuel like an old fuel: Germany's nuclear reaction provides a win for coal

    28 Nov 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    Fear and green populism were bad counsellors indeed when Germany drew the wrong lessons from the Fukushima accident. Read More

  • Countdown to a US debt debacle

    21 Nov 2011 | The Business Spectator

    It says something about the depths of Europe’s economic malaise that America’s economic managers are attending international meetings and lecturing others about the need to get their fiscal houses... Read More

  • Italy defaults on debt and sends lenders broke? So be it

    15 Nov 2011 | Crikey

    The federal government will need to cut spending to ensure a surplus in 2012-13. Read More

  • Will Mr Nobody crash Europe?

    15 Nov 2011 | Business Spectator

    When Germany’s political Boxing Day comes on December 17, there could be some hidden surprises among the presents which may spoil a few politicians’ Christmas breaks. A hitherto obscure German backbencher... Read More

  • Europe's social failure

    12 Nov 2011 | The Weekend Australian

    Capital markets are not loquacious storytellers. They condense the world into simple numbers. For this reason, the surge in Greek, Italian and Spanish bond yields could be mistaken for a mere technicality,... Read More

  • Greece has no choice but to get out of eurozone

    11 Nov 2011 | The Australian

    With the dramatic spike in Italian bond yields, the euro crisis has reached the stage everyone always wanted to avoid. Contagion has spread from Greece via Ireland and Portugal to Europe's third largest... Read More

  • Europe awaits a Chinese burn

    09 Nov 2011 | Business Spectator

    The assessment of Europe’s state of affairs could have hardly been harsher: “If you look at the troubles which happened in European countries, this is purely because of the accumulated troubles of... Read More

  • Going long on European deja vu

    03 Nov 2011 | The Business Spectator

    Markets were euphoric, political leaders relieved. “Europe has taken a step forward. Europe and Greece will emerge stronger from this crisis,” Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou boasted to reporters.... Read More

  • Europe’s forgotten lessons of history

    28 Oct 2011 | ThirdLink Newsletter

    The rise and fall of the Euro is just another chapter in the long history of monetary unions in Europe. The Euro was not the first attempt to unite different European economies and countries by a monetary... Read More

  • Is Australia shy of the Asia boom?

    27 Oct 2011 | Business Spectator

    By internationally practising a policy of exceptionalism against its Asian neighbours, and domestically following the path of European-style governments, Australia is missing out on the greatest opportunity... Read More

  • Unravelling the Greek basket case

    20 Oct 2011 | Business Spectator

    This weekend, European leaders will once more decide on how to deal with Greece. Read More

  • A sterling sidestep

    13 Oct 2011 | Business Spectator

    Under more normal circumstances, we would now be discussing the coming sterling crisis. That we are not doing so does not mean that it will not happen. Read More

  • Stepping stones to an EU inferno

    05 Oct 2011 | Business Spectator

    Don’t read too much into last week’s vote in the German parliament to extend the European Financial Stability Facility bailout fund. Read More

  • Wanted: a friendly EU break-up

    27 Sep 2011 | Business Spectator

    If the result of Europe’s bungled attempts of economic and political integration is a continent-wide disaster zone, the cure of this disease cannot be more integration, even if Philip Stephens thinks... Read More

  • Housing sense in short supply

    21 Sep 2011 | Business Spectator

    While the rest of the world wonders what the next phase of the GFC will bring; and while the rest of Europe discusses the future of their common currency; the British are pondering an entirely different... Read More

  • Wet ink on a euro death notice

    13 Sep 2011 | Business Spectator

    The euro has been a moribund currency for years. The remaining options to buy it more time have been blocked by the German constitutional court. To end this farcical tragedy someone needs to put the final... Read More

  • Prophecies of an egalitarian utopia based on false assumptions

    09 Sep 2011 | The Australian

    The Spirit Level aims to break away from these ethical conundrums and to replace them with the authority of science. It says governments should redistribute incomes, not because it is moral but because... Read More

  • Skilled arrivals work in Australia's favour

    07 Sep 2011 | The Newcastle Herald

    We are the richer for being more selective with our immigration policy in Australia Read More

  • A miracle that masks a mirage

    01 Sep 2011 | The Australian

    As it turns out, there is not much in the German manufacturing example that Australia should copy. We would be much better advised to make the best of our own comparative advantages of being a resource-rich... Read More

  • A poisoned chalice of EU power

    25 Aug 2011 | Business Spectator

    Eurobonds had not even been on the agenda (officially, that is), and an EU-wide tax on financial transactions almost certainly will die aborning. In another way, however, the Merkel and Sarkozy show was... Read More

  • A euro power play that backfired

    17 Aug 2011 | Business Spectator

    As it turns out, the euro is not only an unworkable currency. It actually started as a French insurance policy against German power. But even as an insurance policy it has failed. Against their will, it... Read More

  • Setting a European time bomb

    10 Aug 2011 | Business Spectator

    The announcement by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade US government debt may have been historic but largely inconsequential Read More

  • US Congress swapped a crisis yesterday for a bigger crisis tomorrow

    09 Aug 2011 | Crikey

    I provoked a tirade of abuse from Crikey readers in the past fortnight when I suggested it would be preferable that the $14.3 trillion United States debt ceiling not be raised. Read More

  • No reason or evidence will cure US of its debt fetish

    26 Jul 2011 | Crikey

    The hysteria accompanying the scramble to lift the debt ceiling in the United States is misplaced and self-serving. Read More

  • Greece bailout: prolonging pain for no real gain

    22 Jul 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    Rescuing the country with another bailout would only prolong the pain. Greece squandered money on the Olympic Games, an over-sized bureaucracy and easy loans Read More

  • Paying dearly for European insanity

    21 Jul 2011 | Business Spectator

    it would be tempting to seize the moment and rehash all the arguments for why the euro will never work and cannot be saved. Read More

  • The PC empire strikes back

    20 Jul 2011 | The Australian

    GERMAN banker Thilo Sarrazin is a pariah for saying things few would question here. Read More

  • A bad time to damage our economy as the next stage of the GFC looms

    15 Jul 2011 | The Australian

    WITH the US fiscal crisis nearing a dramatic finale, downgrades of European debt ratings continuing and the euro crisis deteriorating, the global financial crisis has just moved into a new phase. Read More

  • Learning from Europe's competitive spirit

    14 Jul 2011 | Business Spectator

    One of the classic questions of economic history is how the West grew rich. Read More

  • Has the EU's stress test failed?

    07 Jul 2011 | Business Spectator

    As the whole world worried about a potential Greek collapse, another European country experienced two actual bank failures. Read More

  • Sending profits abroad is a good thing

    04 Jul 2011 | Online Opinion

    It is amazing how easily people are convinced by this 'sending profits abroad' argument, when it is just a protectionist fallacy. Read More

  • The phantom giant of Luxembourg

    30 Jun 2011 | Business Spectator

    Under the veil of its legendary diplomatic finesse, Luxembourg hides its profiteering role in the sad state of Europe’s economy and politics. Read More

  • Time for Greece to be forced to live within its means

    28 Jun 2011 | Crikey

    It is morally repugnant that ordinary taxpayers around the world are forced, at great cost, to keep Greece solvent in order to prevent banks from losing money. Read More

  • Putting Greek lessons into practice

    23 Jun 2011 | Business Spectator

    Excessive public debt plagues most developed economies, not just small countries on the periphery of Europe. Read More

  • Is Germany saving Greece or saving itself?

    16 Jun 2011 | Business Spectator

    The short-sighted German strategy of keeping the eurozone together at all costs is turning Greece into one big welfare recipient. Read More

  • Carbon tax cuts for all

    04 Jun 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    Revenue from the government’s proposed carbon tax must be returned to taxpayers through income tax cuts or alternatively, the abolishment of the Medicare levy. Read More

  • Europe enters a wintery spring

    19 May 2011 | Business Spectator

    Europe’s debt crisis is far from over. Read More

  • Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae: Guaranteed to fail?

    17 May 2011 | The Conversation

    The failure of Lehman Brothers was a trivial event compared to the much bigger but largely ignored failure a week before, when Freddie and Fannie were put into ‘conservatorship’ by the US government. Read More

  • Eurovision notes EU disharmony

    13 May 2011 | Business Spectator

    European integration is moving backwards and old nationalisms are returning, as seen in the Eurovision Song Contest as well as in monetary and industrial policy. Read More

  • Australia’s Norwegian doppelganger

    04 May 2011 | Business Spectator

    The IMF is calling for Australia to follow Norway and divert profits from the mining boom to a new sovereign wealth fund. Read More

  • A dangerous euro enchantment

    28 Apr 2011 | Business Spectator

    Instead of bringing Europe’s peoples closer together, the struggling euro currency is driving them further apart. Read More

  • Look to Britain and hold the champagne

    25 Apr 2011 | The Sydney Morning Herald

    The UK property bust provides worrying parallels for our self-congratulatory local economy. Read More

  • Sad songs from Portugal

    21 Apr 2011 | Business Spectator

    Although EU loans are keeping the Portuguese government liquid for now, the austerity measures will be demanding – not least to satisfy voters and taxpayers in other countries guaranteeing the rescue... Read More

  • Out of Iceland's ashes

    14 Apr 2011 | Business Spectator

    Icelanders are great at turning crises into opportunities. The Eyjafjallajökull disaster provided a much needed impetus to Icelandic tourism; and Iceland’s banking crisis has now finally alerted Iceland... Read More

  • Home is where the money is

    07 Apr 2011 | Business Spectator

    Today country hopping has become a mass phenomenon. Global migration flows have increased, but the migrants themselves have become far less permanent. Read More

  • Britain's debt time bomb is still ticking

    31 Mar 2011 | Business Spectator

    Britain’s economic problems are well known. After a massive expansion of government spending in the Blair and Brown years, the financial crisis revealed the unsustainable business model of UK plc. Read More

  • The hysterical republic

    24 Mar 2011 | Business Spectator

    Today’s Germany has little in common with the country that used to trouble the world so much. Read More

  • A plan that will damage Europe

    17 Mar 2011 | Business Spectator

    It is astonishing how little Europe has learnt from previous mistakes. The belief in grand strategies with ambitious targets is alive and well. As is the wish to solve economic problems by ignoring them. Read More

  • The ascent of lying

    01 Mar 2011 | Business Spectator

    Yet our political leaders’ sometimes strained relationship with the truth pales into insignificance when compared with the extent of fraud and deceit on display at the highest level of government in... Read More

  • Farewell to Europe's old guard

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 17 Feb 2011 | Business Spectator

    Last week’s unexpected resignation of Bundesbank president Axel Weber sent shockwaves through the German government. Read More

  • How the Germans keep a lid on prices

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 14 Feb 2011 | Sydney Morning Herald

    You get a lot more house for your money in Germany and there's a simple explanation for the stability in the housing market — steady growth in supply. Read More

  • A housing market whodunit

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 10 Feb 2011 | Business Spectator

    Economics, so the saying goes, can be summed up in one word: incentives. If we want to find out why house prices are flat in Germany, we need to understand the driving force behind the high supply of housing. Read More

  • A necessary shock

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 02 Feb 2011 | Australian Literary Review (The Australian)

    It is useful to imagine a scenario in which the fundamental changes of the last decades had not happened. This thought experiment might reveal alternatives to Australia’s strategic and psychological... Read More

  • Belgium's debt bomb is ticking

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 20 Jan 2011 | Business Spectator

    Belgians are now chasing a veritable world record: they want to be the country with the longest post-election negotiations. Read More

  • A crisis eating away at Europe's freedom

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 13 Jan 2011 | Business Spectator

    Europe’s moral credibility hangs in the balance after Hungary enacted a law to limit press freedom. Read More

  • Estonia should have listened to Marx

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 06 Jan 2011 | Business Spectator

    With its entry into the Eurozone, Estonia is more likely to be punished for its enviable public finances. Read More

  • Watch out for Russian wild card in Asia-Pacific

    John Lee | 29 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    Russia is pulling out all the stops to court India to maintain its position in Asia's future balance of power. Read More

  • Don't believe this forecast

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 23 Dec 2010 | Business Spectator

    As always in Europe, the continent’s politicians know much better what is needed than their often hapless and ungrateful peoples. Read More

  • EU fails to grasp nettle of a continent in crisis

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 22 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    It's time for fresh thinking in Brussels about the debt threat. Read More

  • Europe shows the end game for big government

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 21 Dec 2010 | Online Opinion

    Europe’s present can be our future if we repeat the mistakes Europeans have made in the past. Read More

  • A fundamental Euro flaw

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 16 Dec 2010 | Business Spectator

    There are good economic reasons for Europe’s economic crisis. The fiscal catastrophe across the continent is the result of decades of reckless spending policies. Read More

  • Europe's self-inflicted crisis

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 16 Dec 2010 | ABC News

    To superficial observers, this week's European summit in Brussels will look like any other high-level conference. Read More

  • Trichet's prize for shredding Europe

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 09 Dec 2010 | Business Spectator

    Life in Euroland is full of ironies but they don’t come much more bitter than Sunday’s announcement to award the prestigious Charlemagne Prize 2011 to Jean-Claude Trichet, the head of the European... Read More

  • German polemic has resonance for West

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 04 Dec 2010 | The Australian

    He’s blunt, but Thilo Sarrazin makes a lot of sense. Read More

  • Europe's growth-killing cult

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 25 Nov 2010 | Business Spectator

    Originating from the green movement, a culture of risk-aversion has become firmly entrenched in the European mindset. This jeopardises the continent’s future economic development. Read More

  • G20 should tend to their own backyards

    Stephen Kirchner | 16 Nov 2010 | ABC News

    The principal flaw of the G20 is the assumption that the group as a whole can somehow be more than the sum of its parts. Read More

  • The EU's win-win losers

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 04 Nov 2010 | Business Spectator

    The problems around last weekend’s summit are thus the problems of the Euro as a currency – Europe is too diverse to agree on sensible rules and too diverse to have a common currency in the first place. Read More

  • Germany proves clumsy with foreign matter

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 21 Oct 2010 | The Australian

    The ghosts of multiculturalism are haunting Germany, a country that has failed with the concept. Read More

  • Sarkozy's Ides of March

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 21 Oct 2010 | Business Spectator

    Whether the new pension system is eventually implemented or not, the tumultuous scenes in the streets of Paris, Marseille and other big cities leave only one conclusion: France is an unreformable country. Read More

  • America's warpath to Depression

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 14 Oct 2010 | Business Spectator

    The early Mont Pelerin Society members knew that a free and stable global economic order was not just vital for creating prosperity. It is also a necessary condition for peace. In today’s environment... Read More

  • Economists should learn some history

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 01 Oct 2010 | Spectator Australia

    The inability of economists to see beyond their own models left them unprepared when the global economy hit trouble. Read More

  • The economic curse of populism

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 27 May 2010 | Business Spectator

    If the Germans continue to pretend that the current crisis was caused by speculation and not by inherent flaws of the European project, this crisis will not pass. Read More

  • A bailout that hurts the Germans but doesn’t help the Greeks

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 05 May 2010 | Institute of Economic Affairs

    As long as countries such as Greece are joined with Germany in a monetary union, this monetary union will not work, argues Oliver Marc Hartwich for the Institute of Economic Affairs, 5 May 2010 Read More

  • The real priorities

    Bjorn Lomborg | 08 Aug 2006 | The Australian

    A Mayor has a $10million surplus, which he wants to allocate to a good cause. Ten groups clamour for the cash. One wants to buy new computers for an inner-city high school. Another hopes to beautify a... Read More