1. CSL and Cochlear say ‘show us the money’
Or at least show a bit of interest.
Here they have to chase government, whereas other countries, such as Singapore and Ireland:
- “actively come out and court companies like ours” with a unified package of incentives and benefits, he said. These could include a lower headline tax rate, and other financial concessions or benefits in exchange for specified investment, jobs and revenue outcomes from biotech and technology.
Blood products giant CSL (the privatised Commonwealth Serum Laboratories) and hearing implant pioneer Cochlear are genuine world leaders, and the only Australian companies along with Telstra and Aristocrat Leisure (gambling machine manufacturer – we should be proud!) that made a PwC list of the top 1000 global research and development spenders in 2017. Business R&D went backwards from $18.9 billion in 2013-14 to $16.7 billion in 2015-16.
They say Peter Dutton’s original skilled immigration changes would have devastated local business R&D. While the government backpedalled after an outcry it didn’t go far enough.
Approvals are too slow and uncoordinated through levels of government and the competing states.
It’s not just tax, we need to smarten up the whole business environment, be active in pursuing dynamic companies with R&D plans, and refund Austrade.
2. Psychopaths are everywhere
Oxford psychologist Kevin Dutton has penned a book The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success where he argues that:
- there are indeed “functional psychopaths” among us—different from their murderous counterparts—who use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society, and that shockingly, in some fields, the more “psychopathic” people are, the more likely they are to succeed.
Here’s a list of the professions where you are likely to find them:
3. Media presenters
4. Public servants
Dutton argued that many of the key skills associated with journalism – being charming, focused, ruthless in getting a story – were key traits of psychopaths.
Dutton added that many psychopaths do very well in an office environment and are often found amongst most senior management teams.
In fact, he nominated the CEO as the career most suited to the psychopath. That’s because they’re good at creating a chaotic environment around them to undermine their workmates and get ahead.
For perspective this article from 2016 tells us that about 1 percent of the population are psychopaths, whereas 4 percent of business leaders and CEOs are psychopaths. According to Dutton, Donald Trump is a psychopath “because of high scores in the perceived traits of fearless dominance and self-centered impulsivity”.
This article gives a list of the signs and symptoms of psychopathy.
This article talks about the similarities and differences between psychopaths and sociopaths.
Sociopaths “are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long.”
Any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous rather than planned.
When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous.
Intelligent psychopaths make excellent white-collar criminals and “con artists” due to their calm and charismatic natures.
My interest in this was sparked by an interview with ABC RN’s Patricia Karvelas. I don’t think she’s a psychopath.
On the same night Karvelas interviewed Dr Jim Stanford, Director of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute. He is joint author of a new report The Dimensions of Insecure Work: A Factbook. Because of our weak labour laws we are world champions at this among the industrialised countries.
For the first time a minority of employed Australians have a ‘standard’ job, with sick pay leave entitlements etc.
If you don’t have a standard job you are likely to struggle to have a standard life, own a roof over your own head (even renting can be a problem) and start a family. Only 12.4% of private sector employees are now covered by EBAs (employment bargaining agreements):
The young are especially affected:
55 per cent of employees under age 25 are in casual jobs. … Average earnings for workers under 25 are just $561 per week –less than half the average for the overall labour market.
That’s the long story from Der Spiegel, of what is happening in Italy, which may be the most important current influence on our economic well-being. It’s worth watching.
The short story is that the Italian president refused to accept the appointment of the finance minister put forward by the cobbled together government after the March election. The Five Star Movement and Lega which heads a centre right grouping, both populist parties, are united in their hatred of Brussels and Berlin. It’s about Europe’s foundational values on human rights in the context of refugees and immigration, as well as what to do about debt.
The president couldn’t cop the appointment as finance minister of a proponent of exiting the EU.
Italy’s debts are large. Too large to bail out or to contemplate default with equanimity. Now the situation has led to a capital flight.
Macron wants to re-found the EU, and set up a contingency fund for a crisis. Problem is that the crisis can be seen and it’s big.
Germany seems frozen, unable to respond to Macron, and unwilling to say anything about Italy
Carmen Reinhart is pessimistic:
Severe political uncertainty, chronic slow growth, and a sovereign-debt level currently hovering around 160% of GDP already is enough for Italy to trigger a debt crisis. And there is no plausible resolution that would not generate additional risks and complications.
She says the best outcome, which may not be sufficient, is a restructuring of Italy’s debt. This will require negatiotions, which are usually inconclusive in the first, second and even third rounds.
Yanis Varoufakis blames Angela Merkel’s austerity policies, and an unwillingness to come to terms with the situation. He says if Italy is forced back to the polls support for the anti-EU parties will increase.
However, he broadens the issue, saying migration and refugees are tearing Europe apart while it is under seige from Putin and Donald Trump, the latter in relation to Iran and tariffs. On Iran European international companies have to choose whether they want to trade with Iran or the US.
- Forced to insist that Germany, the European Union’s most populous country and its largest economy, would uphold the Iran deal, Merkel found herself immediately humiliated as one German company after another pulled out of Iran. All were unwilling to challenge US financial might or to forfeit the tax cuts Trump had delivered to almost 5,000 German companies with a combined balance sheet of $600 billion. And, before the Iran shock had been absorbed, the US threatened a 25% import tariff on cars, which would shave at least $5 billion annually from German exporters’ revenues.
“If you insist on policies that condemn whole populations to a combination of permanent stagnation and humiliation, you will soon have to deal not with Europeanist leftists like us but, instead, with anti-Europeanist xenophobes who see it as their vocation to disintegrate the European Union.”
Germany and Europe have increasingly relied on exports to the US to stay afloat, putting them at Trump’s mercy.
- the same incompetent policies that gave rise to the xenophobic, anti-Europeanist Italian government also bolstered Trump’s power over Merkel.
Europe’s inability to get its own house in order has engendered a new Italian majority that is planning to expel a half-million migrants, blowing fresh winds into the sails of militant racists in Hungary, Poland, France, Britain, the Netherlands, and, of course, Germany itself. Meanwhile, with Europe too enfeebled to tame Trump, the US will aim to force China to deregulate its financial and tech sectors. If it succeeds, at least 15% of China’s national income will gush out of the country, adding to the deflationary forces that are breeding political monsters in Europe and in the US.
All of this was predictable – and in fact was predicted. So no one should be surprised by the position in which Merkel and Europe find themselves today. But only a dangerous fool would celebrate.