Author Archive for Phil Ruthven

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In Search of a More Rational World

In Search of a More Rational World

The year 2017 is likely to be the most turbulent since 2009, when the GFC was in full swing; except this time it includes political, racial, religious and terrorist issues more than financial and economic ones. The latter issues have not gone away, either; rather, they have been sublimated by the other issues for the […]

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Australia in 2017

Australia in 2017

Global discombobulation seems to be the order of the day as we face 2017. Some bizarre politics, terrorism, mistruths about free trade and globalisation, digital disruption, polarised incomes and wealth, and more – are all making many of the world’s 7.4 billion people fearful. It was a strange 2016 and there seems to be no […]

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The 2016 US Election in Perspective

The 2016 US Election in Perspective

The 8 November Election for the US Congress and President came at an interesting point in history. The economy of western countries, led by the US in the 20th century, was overtaken by that of eastern countries in early 2016. The US is in no hurry to hand over the leader’s baton of the west […]

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Urban myths versus the right information

Urban myths versus the right information

American corporates on the NYSE have been the world’s most profitable, on a weighted-average basis, in the post-Industrial Age over the past half century. The average American company’s profitability has been four times the long-term bond rate, which continued through the global financial crisis and beyond. In contrast, Australian companies’ average profitability on the ASX […]

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A Business Knowledge Quiz

A Business Knowledge Quiz

In a world being flooded with information, it is not easy to know – let alone remember – most information about the environment in which our nation’s 2.1 million businesses operate. Or even maintain perspective. The following quiz is meant to be a challenging test of our general knowledge. It is too long, arguably too […]

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Our New Federal Government

Our New Federal Government

Running a country these days is not for the faint-hearted. While the problems may vary, the degree of difficulty is high nearly everywhere across the world’s 230 nations. If the problem isn’t terrorism or racial tensions, it’s low economic growth, high debt levels, a high unemployment rate, ecological challenges or the absence of a working […]

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Australia’s Growth Industries

Australia’s Growth Industries

We are told that Australia is the fastest growing economy in the developed world. True, but at 2.7% in the year to March 2016 and the same growth per annum over the past five years, we are not growing as fast as Australia’s average over the past 50 years (3.2% per annum) or the 20th […]

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Businesses in Australia

Businesses in Australia

This year should end with Australia having 2.1 million active trading businesses, generating a GDP of almost $1.7 trillion, revenue of $5.0 trillion and employing 12.1 million persons. The exhibit below shows the key statistics associated with the nation’s businesses. More than one in five households own a business. We are not quite a nation […]

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Report Card on Company Profitability in 2015

Report Card on Company Profitability in 2015

When looking at the profitability of the nation’s largest companies, as IBISWorld does each year, the picture can be worrying. In its latest analysis of the 1,467 large companies that account for over 38% of the nation’s $4.8 trillion revenue in 2015, IBISWorld found that 22% ran at a loss over a five-year period. Revenue […]

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The Importance of Industry Life Cycles

The Importance of Industry Life Cycles

Industries run in long cycles, whether they are measured at the aggregate level (industry division) or the enterprise level (industry class). Surprisingly, the length of these cycles remains much the same over hundreds of years. The first exhibit below shows the ABS classification system (ANZSIC) for Australia’s industries, and the second chart shows the life […]