Register For Our Mailing List

Register to receive our free weekly newsletter including editorials.

Home / 181

Keating: is technology capitalism's creator or destroyer?

The Hon. Paul Keating

Paul Keating served as Australia’s 24th Prime Minister, from 1991 to 1996, having been Treasurer between 1983 and 1991. His political legacy includes the deregulation of the financial, product and labour markets and the establishment of compulsory superannuation. Since leaving the Prime Ministership in 1996, Paul Keating has continued his interest in geo-political and economic affairs.

Paul Keating noted it was the largest group of fund managers he had ever spoken to, and they should be charging lower fees on the $2.3 trillion in his superannuation system.

He focussed on the global macro picture. The shattering of US prestige came in 2008 with the GFC. Before then, the world believed Americans had the black box on how to manage the world economy, but China is now bigger than the US if you include the unofficial economy.

Population and GDP will grow together due to technology and capital mobility. The Chinese have about 20% of US income per capita, and we should expect it to reach 50% over next 20 years. Four times as many people earning half as much will give China a GDP size of double the US. Demographics will drive future domination.

The Chinese are now building their own institutions and the IMF has no influence, and the renminbi will become a reserve currency. We are seeing a break from a world previously managed out of Washington.

It matters how the world is managed. Keating thought Trump was weak during his campaign, but he tapped into the “We will not take it anymore” of millions of Americans. Maybe he will be better than we expect, and he’s already said three encouraging things: we need a better relationship with Russia, we need to reach out to China (“Although Trump is slightly wild, the Chinese do not do wild well.”) and he wants to spend on infrastructure.

We are heading into a different world of great power rivalries, not multinationals. It might even work better than pretending we like each other.

The tools used for inflation do not work in a low growth, deflationary world. We used to think markets knew how to allocate funds, and we have lost the great dynamic growth engines of the past such as road building, railways, plastics, etc.

Main reason interest rates are low is because there is no use for savings in the west, not QE. Companies already have too much capacity and excess capital and central banks cannot stimulate activity in such a market. We have capital-light industries like Facebook which don’t need many staff or equipment, unlike the great car companies or manufacturers of the past. It has been a mistake to impose budget restrictions in US which has led to crumbling infrastructure.

But networks and the interconnected economy are the major changes in our lifetime. The entire world is connected, but information erodes value in many companies, and most information is now free. End result? The world’s population will become a big global factory and the price of goods and services will continue to fall.

Can capitalism cope with this change?

Intuitive technologies and artificial intelligence will be massive changes which can take us anywhere. They will change the way the world works. P2P relationships will grow in importance, and the distinction between leisure and work will become more blurred.

Keating left us with this question. Is the digital economy capitalism's great creator or its undertaker?

 

banner

Most viewed in recent weeks

Stop treating the family home as a retirement sacred cow

The way home ownership relates to retirement income is rated a 'D', as in Distortion, Decumulation and Denial. For many, their home is their largest asset but it's least likely to be used for retirement income.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 433 with weekend update

There’s this story about a group of US Air Force generals in World War II who try to figure out ways to protect fighter bombers (and their crew) by examining the location of bullet holes on returning planes. Mapping the location of these holes, the generals quickly come to the conclusion that the areas with the most holes should be prioritised for additional armour.

  • 11 November 2021

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 431 with weekend update

House prices have risen at the fastest pace for 33 years, but what actually happened in 1988, and why is 2021 different? Here's a clue: the stockmarket crashed 50% between September and November 1987. Looking ahead, where did house prices head in the following years, 1989 to 1991?

  • 28 October 2021

Why has Australia slipped down the global super ranks?

Australia appears to be slipping from the pantheon of global superstar pension systems, with a recent report placing us sixth. A review of an earlier report, which had Australia in bronze position, points to some reasons why, and what might need to happen to regain our former glory.

How to help people with retirement spending decisions

Super funds will soon be required to offer retirement income strategies for members in decumulation. With uncertain returns, uncertain timelines, and different goals, it's possibly “the hardest, nastiest problem in finance".

Tips when taking large withdrawals from super

You want to take a lump sum from your super, but what's the best way? Should it come from you or your spouse, or the pension or accumulation account. There is a welcome flexibility to select the best outcome.

Latest Updates

Investment strategies

Charlie Munger and stock picks at the Sohn Conference

The Sohn Australia Conference brings together leading fund managers to chose their highest conviction stock in a 10-minute pitch. Here are their 2021 selections with Charlie Munger's wisdom as the star feature.

Interviews

John Woods on diversification using asset allocation

All fund managers now claim to take ESG factors into account, but a multi-asset ethical fund will look quite different from a mainstream fund. Faced with low fixed income returns, alternatives have a bigger role.

SMSF strategies

Don't believe the SMSF statistics on investment allocation

The ATO's data on SMSF asset allocation is as much as 27 months out-of-date and categories such as cash and global investments are reported incorrectly. We should question the motives of some who quote the numbers.

Investment strategies

Highlights of reader tips for young investors

In this second part on the reader responses with advice to younger people, we have selected a dozen highlights, but there are so many quality contributions that a full list of comments is also attached.

Investment strategies

Four climate themes offer investors the next big thing

Climate-related companies will experience exponential growth driven by consumer demand and government action. Investors who identify the right companies will benefit from four themes which will last decades.

Investment strategies

Inflation remains transitory due to strong long-term trends

There is momentum to stop calling inflation 'transitory' but this overlooks deep-seated trends. A longer-term view will see companies like ARB, Reece, Macquarie Telecom and CSL more valuable in a decade.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure and the road to recovery

Infrastructure assets experienced varying fortunes during the pandemic, from less travel at airports to strong activity in communications. On the road to recovery, what role does infrastructure play in a portfolio?

Economy

The three prices that everyone should worry about

Among the myriad of numbers that bombard us every day, three prices matter greatly to the world economy. Recent changes in these prices help to understand the potential for a global recovery and interest rates.

Sponsors

Alliances

© 2021 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer
The data, research and opinions provided here are for information purposes; are not an offer to buy or sell a security; and are not warranted to be correct, complete or accurate. Morningstar, its affiliates, and third-party content providers are not responsible for any investment decisions, damages or losses resulting from, or related to, the data and analyses or their use. Any general advice or ‘regulated financial advice’ under New Zealand law has been prepared by Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd (ABN: 95 090 665 544, AFSL: 240892) and/or Morningstar Research Ltd, subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc, without reference to your objectives, financial situation or needs. For more information refer to our Financial Services Guide (AU) and Financial Advice Provider Disclosure Statement (NZ). You should consider the advice in light of these matters and if applicable, the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision to invest. Past performance does not necessarily indicate a financial product’s future performance. To obtain advice tailored to your situation, contact a professional financial adviser. Articles are current as at date of publication.
This website contains information and opinions provided by third parties. Inclusion of this information does not necessarily represent Morningstar’s positions, strategies or opinions and should not be considered an endorsement by Morningstar.

Website Development by Master Publisher.