Whether it be Qantas, or any large company that employs Australians, anger at growing executive wages seems to be met with a standard response – you need to pay these rates to attract the best people. But are they worth it? A review of the performance of Qantas over time may break down some of the misconceptions shared by those defending their own salary packages.
It’s true there’s a historical correlation between security, prosperity and growth. Those were the days when “trickle-down” worked. It worked because the trickling down occurred through higher wages and better social services at the insistence of a strong labour movement when our media weren’t just corporate mouthpieces. That’s all changed.
But isn’t GDP still growing? Sure. GDP can grow along with population, even while living standards stagnate. In that case, growth doesn’t help us. In fact, right now, poverty is also increasing in Australia. Shouldn’t that cancel out the boost to GDP from population growth? Something else must be increasing too. What could that be?
Once we adjust for population growth, much of our meagre GDP growth goes with it. If this affected the entire population equally, nobody’s wealth would be increasing. But, in fact, it’s the poor who are bearing the brunt, while the rich get richer. In simple terms, existing wealth is being redistributed upwards. So poverty and inequality are rising.
the bandwagon of economic growth. That bandwagon desperately depends on an ever increasing population. As long as that dependency is there, it will be very hard for governments and the corporate sector to change course Is the World Full Yet?
Despite 25 years of uninterrupted economic growth, poverty rates continue to soar, writes Michael Clanchy.
Not all Australians have benefited from 25 years of economic growth and free market policy, says Leon Moulden.
Source: What price economic growth?
A UN report says Australia and just three other nations will not meet their pledge to reduce emissions by 2020
Australia is one of just four nations not on track to meet emissions reduction promises, a UN report has warned, while a US-based research firm has poured scorn on Tony Abbott’s insistence that coal is “good for humanity.”
A report by the UN Environment Programme states that the world should aim to be “carbon neutral” by 2070 at the latest. Exceeding a budget of just 1,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide would risk “severe, pervasive and in some cases irreversible climate change impacts”.
In an analysis of each signatory to a UN goal to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels, the report found that just four nations – Australia, Canada, Mexico and the US – needed to do more to meet their respective emissions reduction targets by 2020.
The UNEP analysis finds that Australia is set to emit 710 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020. This is well above the 555 million tonnes it would emit if it were to meet a goal of a 5% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020, based on 2000 levels.
The report notes that Australia’s Coalition government has “replaced carbon-pricing mechanism with Emissions Reduction Fund. This results in an increase in projected emissions for 2020.”
After scrapping carbon pricing in July, emissions have risen in Australia, reversing a previous downward trend.
The replacement Direct Action policy, which the government claims will be more effective and a lesser burden on cost of living pressures, will start voluntary payments to businesses to reduce emissions from the first quarter next year. Independent analysis has cast doubt on whether Direct Action will meet the 5% emissions reduction goal.
The UNEP said countries could slash emissions through renewable energy and energy efficiency while maintaining economic growth.
Achim Steiner, executive director of UNEP, said there are “many synergies between development and climate change mitigation goals.
“Linking development policies with climate mitigation will help countries build the energy-efficient, low-carbon infrastructures of the future and achieve transformational change that echoes the true meaning of sustainable development.”
In October, Abbott said coal was “good for humanity” because it would be used to lift millions of people out of poverty, In subsequent G20 talks, Abbott reportedly told international leaders he was “standing up for coal”.
This position was directly challenged at the launch of the UNEP report in Washington DC. Andrew Steer, president of US development research organisation World Resources Institute, said Australia was wrong to view fossil fuels as the way to boost economic growth.
Steer said better technology and more efficient uses of resources were the best paths to alleviate poverty, claiming that US$19tn would be invested in renewable energy globally over the next 15 years. “We can’t afford not to do it; the economic imperative is to act,” Steer said.
The report presents just the latest climate change headache for the government. Julie Bishop, the foreign minister, has spoken out against a speech made by US president Barack Obama over the threat posed by climate change to the Great Barrier Reef.
In an apparent contradiction of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the government’s own Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Bishop said the reef was not in danger and that a decline in water quality had been reversed.
Mark Butler, Labor’s environment spokesman, said the UNEP report was evidence that the Direct Action climate policy wouldn’t work.
“Tony Abbott is taking Australia backwards, while the rest of the world moves forward,” he said. “The United Nations report demonstrates that under the carbon price mechanism, Australia’s carbon pollution reductions reduced by 7% – for the first time in history.
“World leaders, including some of Australia’s largest trading partners, have pledged to increase their emissions reduction targets. Tony Abbott would rather pay polluters to pollute and keep his head in the sand.”