Thursday, 26 November 2015

Andrew Charlton: Funny and Frank

Andrew Charlton is an economist and author who has written several books and numerous articles, including Fair Trade For All, co-authored with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz.

His book Ozonomics: Inside the Myth of Australia’s Economic Superheroes has been hailed as a funny and frank book that examines Australia’s economic managers – that is, its politicians – and makes the case that prosperity is possible for everyone, even without having to ravage worker’s rights or perpetuate the imbalances that, historically, have been the hallmarks of trade between developing and developed countries.

Moreover, Ozonomics is an easy read, in spite the subject matter ordinary readers might find rough going. One reviewer went so far as to suggest that if politicians had half of the author’s ability to communicate complex ideas and identify sensible and workable solutions, everyone could feel better about the state of the economy.

One of the central ideas in Ozonomics is that Australian politicians have been took quick to take credit for economic good times. “A more accurate analysis of different governments’ contribution to Australia’s ‘miracle’ economy,” Andrew Charlton has written, “involves recognising that economic policies act with a lag, so the prosperity reaped today may have been sown many years before.”

Every government claim about the state of the economy deserves thorough scrutiny, Andrew Charlton says. “What we believe about the foundation of our wealth makes a great deal of difference to how we should pursue our future.” If Australia’s economic prosperity is a complex combination of long-term policies and global circumstances, he says, then the challenge is to make sure that constant public debate, with the aim of identifying the best policies to continue that prosperity, is encouraged and continued.



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