Media – Web, September 2013

“Driven by massive monetary stimulus, the performance of financial markets, especially stocks, has decoupled from a moribund real economy. Financers assume the rise in equity markets anticipates an economic recovery. But there are reasons why the world may be entering a period of low or no growth. Growth is a relatively recent phenomenon.

There are similarities between the problems of the financial system, environmental damage and shortages of resources like oil, food and water. In each area, society borrowed from and pushed problems into the future. Short-term profits were pursued at the expense of risks that were not evident immediately.

Another common theme in the crises in finance, environment and management of scarce resources is mispricing. In the period leading to the financial crisis, risk was underpriced. The true cost of polluting the environment or consuming certain resources has also been underpriced. In all cases, there was significant privatisation of gains while losses were socialised. Financers entered into increasingly destructive transactions, extracting large fees, leaving taxpayers to cover the cost of economic damage.”

“The Dutch government is taking another important step toward sustainable economic growth. Efforts to bring about robust public finances and a fair distribution of income are an inseparable part of this process.

In addition, the government is taking a number of measures to support lending to businesses – especially innovative businesses – and has drawn up an ambitious energy conservation program following agreements with employers’, employees’ and environmental organisations. For example, there will be a revolving fund to grant loans for the purpose of energy conservation. In cooperation with pension funds, banks and insurers, the Netherland Investment Institution will be set up to encourage long-term investments in particular.”

“Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne describes a Coalition push to curb the activities of conservation groups in the marketplace as an attack on free speech.

The Federal Government has flagged changes to consumer laws to make it harder for lobby groups to campaign against companies in the marketplace.

Groups like Get Up! and Tasmanian-based Markets for Change are currently exempt from a section of the Consumer and Competition Act which prevents action to hinder a third person buying goods from another.

The Federal Government wants to curtail such activities because they are damaging legitimate businesses.”

Last modified onTuesday, 11 February 2014 12:12
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