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Ozonomics: inside the myth of Australia's economic superheroes

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Andrew Charlton|
Random House (July 2007)

We're living through the second longest boom in Australian history. You can't move for talk of the budget surplus. The Liberals proclaim their impeccable economic record; Labour counterclaim that they sowed the seeds during their time in government. So who's right? Does it matter? And what does it all mean anyway?

In this entertaining and incisive book, Australian economist Andrew Charlton looks behind the political smokescreen to reveal just how much of the rhetoric we should believe, suggesting that much of the economic headlines we read and see on TV are misleading and irrelevant. Charlton argues that workers' rights, engagement with global markets and investment in technology, education and infrastructure are all vital in different ways for the future of our nation, often having a direct impact on the world in which we live, from the size of our weekly pay packets to the range of produce in our local stores.

Forthright, compelling and extremely entertaining, this brilliant book shows ordinary readers why economics matters and why it is both more relevant and endlessly fascinating than they ever imagined. 

Endorsements

'One of the difficult challenges in assessing the performance of any government is estimating how much of the economic success during its tenure is due to factors which were in play before it took to office, and how much was due to global forces that would have helped the economy no matter who was in office. Charlton makes an extremely convincing case that Australia's remarkable performance is not because of the Howard government - indeed it may be despite it.'
Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize for Economics winner

'In this funny, frank and fearless book, Andrew Charlton dispenses with the tepid left-right paradigm that's still so prevalent in Canberra to show that we can build prosperity without slashing workers' rights or cowering behind tariff walls. And in doing so, he finally debunks a myth that has dominated Australian politics for a decade: that the Coalition are better economic managers. With Ozonomics Charlton has achieved something precious few have managed: a book on weighty economic issues that's easy to read. If our leaders had half his gift for communicating complex ideas clearly and engagingly, and identifying solutions that intuitively make sense, we really could be relaxed and comfortable about our economy. At a time when the Lucky Country's fortune is finally running out, and new thinking is urgently needed to protect our future, this is the book we had to have.'
Dominic Knight, The Chaser

'Australia's move out of the past, economically, began with the great reforms of the Hawke-Keating government: the reduction of protection, financial liberalisation, and the adoption of a clear macroeconomic strategy. These produced an outward looking economy, well adapted to globalisation, and in the 1990s Australia grew as fast as almost any advanced country. The Howard government has wrongly taken credit for these reforms. And it has increasingly put them at risk - in ways which are not well understood. Andrew Charlton says this very clearly. That is why this is an important book about Australia's current prosperity, and where it came from.'
David Vines, professor of economics, University of Oxford and the Australian National University .

Press cuttings

The Cairns Post, Australia
Busting the myth (14 July)
Andrew Charlton, on the other hand, is a renowned Australian economist working at the prestigious London School of Economics. He's eminently qualified to talk about the facts and forces driving our financial system and the markets and wealth swirling around within it. And he's got a message for everyone sucked in by the 'myth of Australia's economic superheroes'. 'The Howard Government has been carried from one election victory to another on the crest of an economic wave that it did not create' Charlton writes in his new book Ozonomics.
Source: Lexis Nexis News 

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