Economies all over the world are doing crazy things, or having crazy things done to them. Debt levels in Europe are sky-high. Unemployment in the USA is rising. Productivity is faltering everywhere. Australia is not immune to the rising tide of disquiet.
This can be seen in my own local 'high street'. I live in Paddington, in Sydney's eastern suburbs, which are considered well-heeled. Our main shopping street is one of those old-fashioned ribbon-developments which seem to stretch on for miles. Populated by small often one-off boutiques, what economists love to call SMEs (small to medium enterprises).
Some shops seem to be prospering, whilst others go to the wall. Look at the number of 'for-sale' and 'for-lease' signs in these last three photographs, all taken during the last six months, indeed the large one taken last week. And this in an economy where our public debt is low, when compared with Greece, the UK, France, and the USA.
Shoppers are spending on essentials, and paying down debt instead of splashing out. What discretionary spending there is, is now occurring at the local mall, which is big and modern and trashy, stocking cheaper items. When we all change our spending pattern at the same time, there is not enough people buying to keep the economic cycle chugging along.
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