A life without upgrades

Type
Article
Category
Economics
Technology

Once upon a time, perhaps as far back as the mid 1980s, a computer or a phone was a carefully thought out, big ticket item to purchase for families, like a car, a refrigerator, a kitchen range, or a washer and a dryer. We still expect our cars to run for more than six months. We would be upset if our refrigerators, washers and dryers did not work beyond six months. But it is not so clear-cut with personal computers and phones. We tolerate half-baked products from these manufacturers, because psychologically we have bought into a compromise called upgrades.

circuit
toaster
Type
Article
Category
Inequality
Politics

We don't need another toaster

To respond to Storrar’s question by showering him with money – so much money, in fact, that it may potentially impact his benefit payments and require the assistance of a financial manager – seems to misunderstand the nature of the problem, no matter how well-intentioned the many donors may be.

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Type
Article
Category
Panama Papers
tax havens

‘The Jersey of the South Pacific’

The geography of tax avoidance and evasion – far-flung yet interwoven – means reform is, in isolation, ineffective. The structures merely move. Gabriel Zucman, an academic from the London School of Economics and the author of The Hidden Wealth Of Nations: The Scourge Of Tax Havens, estimates that $7.6 trillion (8 percent of individual financial wealth) is held in tax havens. That means approximately $190 billion is lost in tax revenue.

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Type
Polemic
Category
Art
Economics

You can have submarines instead

Come 2030 – or 2040, or 2050 – when the region’s geopolitical environment will look very different than it does today, what will the submarines actually be used for? Who will be in our sights? The Chinese? Terrorists? Nobody asks; nobody says; in truth, nobody knows. This is the basis on which billions of dollars of federal money is shovelled into the raging furnace of the military-industrial machine. Conversely, our painters, writers, editors, and directors must endlessly, and minutely, articulate everything they do in the increasingly forlorn hope of securing even a small amount of funding from an ever diminishing pool.

theoz
Type
Article
Category
Culture
LGBTQI
The media

Who's afraid of the big bad broadsheet?

The Australian fights its culture wars in a particular – and now well-documented – way. It plays the man, or the woman, instead of the ball. It goes in hard, and it targets individuals who aren’t necessarily prepared for a fight (or at least one that’s very public, very national, and very much on The Australian’s own terms).