The elephant in the room

September 15, 2016

From Bella d’Abrera

Are you up to date with the hottest thing in economics? It’s the “elephant chart“, a representation of why capitalism has apparently failed the middle classes.

The Washington Post thinks it’s “the most important chart for understanding politics today“, while theFinancial Times goes further and claims that it actually “explains the world“. Except that it really doesn’t. This week, it was exposed as a fanciful myth. Read the Resolution Foundation’s full report here, and read Robert Colvile’s summary at CapX here.

On Monday, the IPA released its report Strangling the Goose with the Golden Egg which explains why the government’s proposed changes to superannuation would hit middle-income Australians the hardest. Read the page 4 coverage in The Australian. The government today announced that it will amend its proposed changes, which the IPA’s Brett Hogan called a step in the right direction.

Who should you turn to if you have been left homeless by a biblical flood? Airbnb. Last month, when the heavens opened in Louisiana for three weeks, Airbnb activated its disaster response tool and provided beds for thousands of Louisianans.

In Australia we’ve had the second-wettest winter on record. But according to the Bureau of Meteorology it shouldn’t have rained at all. In the Herald Sun on Wednesday, Andrew Bolt asked the Bureau to explain how it got it so wrong.

In the September edition of Standpoint, Jonathan Gaisman reviews Sir Roger Scruton’s latest book,The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung. Sir Roger makes the case that The Ring Cycle is a philosophical, musical and textual masterpiece and one of the most important works of art that has been produced in the last 200 years.

The Guardian has outdone itself by giving a contributor space to write a 1400 word account of why she walked out of Lionel Shriver’s keynote address at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival. We don’t know which part offended the writer more – the defence of cultural appropriation or the giant Mexican sombrero which Shriver sported for much of the speech.

In a big win for democracy, sarcasm has been officially banned in North Korea. Read this article fromThe Telegraph last Thursday on why Kim Jong-un is scared of people agreeing with him ‘ironically’.

He must have modelled his policy on Australian universities. Read what the IPA’s Matthew Lesh had to say in the Daily Telegraph in March about Australian universities banning sarcasm and ridicule on campus.

This week’s long read is a 3000 word article in the September edition of Standpoint. While writing the book Brexit Revolt: How the UK Voted to Leave the EU, authors Michael Mosbacher and Oliver Wiseman compiled and dispelled a list of 7 myths about how the result came about.

Article of the week

The 2016 US election has the two most unpopular candidates in history. At Reason on Wednesday, Barton Hinkle asks if this is making progressives change their minds about small government now that they realise that one of the candidates will be president.

IPA Staff Pick

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: Daniel Wild

Charles Murray is a conservative treasure. In this fascinating 70-minute interview with Bill Kristol, Murray discusses how the decline of communities is affecting the US presidential race, and how Trump is drawing support from men who are out of work and are sick of being called homophobic, sexist, racist and violent.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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