Michael Pascoe

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Australian Financial Journalist & Commentator

Fireside chat

Michael Pascoe is one of Australia’s most experienced and thoughtful finance and economics commentators with more than four decades in newspaper, broadcast and on-line journalism. He is now contributing editor for The New Daily, a regular commentator on radio and television, and a speaker who brings perspective and rare humour to the “dismal science” and its collision with politics.

Key Takeaways

  1. There are two very different potential worlds ahead of us – one with a COVID vaccine, one without. You can’t be sure which one we’re heading for, so hope for the best and plan for the worst.
  2. To succeed, first, you have to survive: cash flow and relationships matter more than ever, relationships with your network, bankers, suppliers, and customers.
  3. The main reason the economy was soft before the virus hit (and it was soft, whatever the government tries to spin) was weak household consumption stemming from years of weak or non-existent real wages growth. (Most employers had no idea that they were collectively their own biggest problem). What’s the one sure thing about the next few years? Unemployment and underemployment stay high, so weak or non-existent real wages growth.
  4. Ideology is threatening to be a brake on the possible speed of our recovery. Yes, the government is spending big, but beyond the immediate crisis, talk of concentrating on supply-side Reaganomics over demand-driven Keynesian principles is a worry. Pragmatism wins – and, yes, we can afford to invest wisely.
  5. The sun will come out, just maybe not tomorrow. Our fundamentals remain strong. There is good potential for another China-sized demand surge down the track. (No, not India). Difficult times reduce competition for those who are the best at what they do. You still wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on earth.