The Boomer Legacy

Commerce

The Market was always Right

Choices that faced society could only be framed in economic terms. The profit motive was the sole driving force of all civilisation and GDP was its only metric. Any attempt by governments or citizens to meddle in the course of business could only be construed as a direct attack on growth.

Wealth creation was seldom could only be achieved by hard work and balancing of risk. All decisions were made by unfailingly rational agents. Riches were always nearly always seldom never acquired by inheritance, hypergamy, corruption, rent-seeking or asset-bubbles.

“Market Failure” was an oxymoron. Only monetarism, globalised free trade, deregulation, freedom of contract, small government, business tax-cuts, level playing-fields, nimble competition, resilient optimism, continuous privatisation, austerity, increasing foreign investment, intersectional micro-economic & structural reform and completely unfettered markets could never always determine the fair value of everything, and deliver increasing prosperity for the ruling-elite shareholders stakeholders all.

Sample #2107
Uncomfortable at times    (Jan 2020)

Topic Images

There are currently 109 photographs in this section.

 

 

The emporium struck back: Department stores battled heroically against irrelevance

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Storm-troopers at the David Jones lift-well   (Jan 2019,  149kb)

The cranes were flying: At one stage there were more apartment construction cranes on the Australian eastern seaboard than in all the major cities in the USA (ABC News, 2016)

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Apartment construction cranes at Lewisham   (Sep 2015,  232kb)

Just visiting: Full speed ahead for the fly-in fly-out money-laundering high-rollers in the sky (ABC News, 2020)

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Crown casino construction, Barangaroo   (Jan 2020,  249kb)

From blue to fluoro collar: We spent up big on infrastructure to create a cornucopia of employment opportunities

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Re-tiling the Sydney Opera House forecourt   (Jul 2014,  303kb)

Consumer kaizen: We needed to create a culture in which our customers were prepared to kill

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High Street bus-stop, Penrith   (Feb 2017,  528kb)

Twilight's last gleaming: We slid down the Phillips Curve until we reached the Minsky Moment

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Construction hoarding at Barangaroo, Sydney   (Sep 2016,  263kb)

Futuregate: At the end of the day, everyone was talking about how to shape the narrative in a world full of user-generated content

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Mainstream media at the Sydney Opera House   (Jul 2014,  371kb)

Driven by unceasing mobility: Remember the physical-distancing rule and only travel when essential

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Waiting for the Cronulla Ferry at Bundeena Wharf   (Aug 2020,  341kb)

One country, two systems: Income versus Wealth Inequality — we argued interminably about the former while carefully ignoring the latter

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Woodcroft housing estate versus Harris Street Ultimo   (Jan 2013,  258kb)

Spare capacity: Feel the love by shopping even more

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St Collins Lane shopping arcade, Melbourne   (Apr 2019,  332kb)

Knowledge-based service industries: The only way to counter economic headwinds was by being more nimble than the market

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Finance workers at Australia Square   (Dec 2004,  256kb)

The customer was king: Everything you could ever possibly want, at your fingertips

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Supermarket checkout, Nepean Village Penrith   (Apr 2003,  368kb)

The bounds of Skinner's Box: Because we were worth it, we flew the friendly skies to eat fresh, open happiness and think different

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Wall advertising, Pitt Street Sydney   (Mar 2021,  323kb)

Not a house of cards then: People's jobs depend on confidence and trust in the financial and banking system. And I can assure [everyone] that, despite the very disturbing and, indeed, shocking revelations we have seen in the Royal Commission, particularly of late, that these issues, while as abhorrent as they are, are completely separate from any question about the stability and strength of [our] banking and financial system. (Morrison, 2018)

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Pedestrian footbridge at Barangaroo   (Apr 2016,  286kb)

Empty Nesters Two Thumbs Up: We reformed tax laws and kept interest rates low to ensure the price of land-banked property could increase by more each day than most people could earn in a week

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Irelands Road in Blacktown, western Sydney   (Dec 2012,  478kb)

The engine of growth: Our generation reaffirmed the notion that markets could remain irrational for much longer than investors could stay solvent

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The window-display for Central Autohaus in Alexandria   (Jun 2015,  249kb)

Stake your claim: A lot of micro-businesses were created when the factories shut down, resulting in strong employment growth among non-employees

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Small business badge window display, Wentworth Street Port Kembla   (Sep 2014,  666kb)

Thrusting for yield: The ubiquity of synchronised growth led to social and urban experiments imposed from above

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Construction cranes at Australian Technology Park   (Mar 2018,  263kb)

Luxury was a fundamental human right: Stand on principle on the way up and you'll miss the stampede; stand on principle on the way down and you'll be run over

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Even the pigeons lived in style at Hogben Street in Kogarah   (Apr 2011,  176kb)

Retail led recovery: Luxury brands rode out the pandemic rather well

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Luxury goods store entrance, George Street Sydney   (Nov 2020,  319kb)

Dog-boxes in the sky: Mate, phone-in punters bought them off the plan like it was Christmas

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Spacious and exclusively appointed apartments at Broadway, near Central   (Jul 2016,  332kb)

Espresso Kultur: The al fresco revolution gave tantalising significance to our busy lives

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Outdoor cafe seating at Little Everleigh street, Redfern   (Sep 2020,  362kb)

Working with key stakeholders: We could either use General Relativity equations to derive the Schwarzschild metric in n-dimensions, or we could go shopping

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Supermarket freezer aisle, Katoomba   (Dec 2003,  265kb)

Scaffolding everywhere: We turned our lives into a series of transactions to better embrace the future

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One Circular Quay construction site, Sydney   (Jan 2018,  352kb)

Roses of Picardy: The marriage industry flourished despite the cynicism, malaise and lockdowns

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Private wedding ceremony at St Marys Cathedral   (Mar 2019,  295kb)

The weight of calorific delights: Just a spoon full of HFCS helped the processed food go down (Hyman, 2014)

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Candle wax at a Kent Street wine-bar, near Town Hall   (Jan 2014,  342kb)

Cargo Culte: We lounged about in ill-fitting uniforms, languidly pressing buttons on small screens… waiting patiently for the day He would return, bearing great gifts

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Palm tree outside the abandoned St Mary & St Mina's Coptic Orthodox Church at Sydenham, near Sydney airport   (Sep 2012,  338kb)

Play the Tradie's Game: Contract for a knock-down-rebuild and then dodge months of excuses as to why it took so unbelievably long to construct a simple suburban house

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House demolition and removal at Warrimoo

The original house was demolished in April 2020 and the replacement was still unfinished a year later…   (Apr 2020,  484kb)

Taming animal spirits: There is something more systematic about the way people behave irrationally, especially during periods of economic stress (Greenspan, 2013)

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Lunchtime in a George Street amusement arcade, Sydney   (Sep 2003,  260kb)

Living in a film-set: A world of shuttered restaurants and disoriented diners

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Deserted food court, Centrepoint Sydney   (Apr 2020,  220kb)

Covid Safe: Restricted trading hours [✓] Patron number limits [✓] Temperature checks [✓] Sign-in attendance records [✓] Perspex table-shields [✓] 1.5m social distancing [ ]

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The Celsius Cafe at Kirribilli Wharf adapts to business conditions under COVID-19   (Nov 2020,  394kb)

Exuberant expectations: Great success and performance created its own reality (Pfeffer, 2015)

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Church Street car dealership, Parramatta   (Apr 2017,  239kb)

A bull market in everything: This time it really was different

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Charging bull statue, NYC   (Oct 2017,  226kb)

City of forgotten men: There's class warfare all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war and we're winning (Buffet, 2006)

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Homeless opposite the Queen Victoria Building, Sydney   (Aug 2014,  395kb)

Dutch disease done right: Not to worry. If the economy works the way the textbook says, the gain to miners should flow through to the economy, causing higher wages and tax receipts (Gittins, 2017)

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Remnants of the 2000's resources boom at Lithgow   (Aug 2012,  339kb)

Decades of irrational exuberance: No matter what disaster befell us, the market always soared to record new heights

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Financial reporter at the Sydney ASX   (Oct 2018,  281kb)

Forget your past: Architectural awards counted for little when it came to prime development opportunities

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Darling Harbour Conference Centre demolition, Sydney   (Apr 2014,  279kb)

In the circle of FIRE: We made so much money from fees & rents & short-term leases & collateralised debt & margin-accounts & franked dividends & big-dog meetings & asset management & asset concealment & asset stripping & short-selling & bear-raids & gambling wagering & grey-rhinos & black-swans & shiny tech unicorns & fantastical profit projections & 300-year visions & peer-to-peer lending & liar loans & narco-state money-laundering & parking Saudi billions & Shanghai aged-care schemes & crypto mining & cash-for-visas & child-pornography & terrorism financing & tax-planning & tax-evasion & optimistic bets & hugely successful bets & insider knowledge & insurance fraud & lying to corporate regulators & rewriting independent reports & unenforced enforceable-undertakings & Glass-Steagall repeal & ATO confidentiality obligations & political donations & influence peddling & door-opening & hiring ex-ministers & grey gifts & privatisation & exceptionalism & impunity spells & bailouts & deregulation & strategic litigation & Wagyu-beef-washed-down-with-finest-shiraz judgements & swaps & options & swaptions & binary options & CDOs & COMOs & CDFs & FOREX & FICCs & REITs & FAANGs & BATs & ETFs & PGUC & FOMO & FONGO & BNPL & NFTs & inventing ever more abstruse financial instruments to conjure “assets” out of nothing to ensure money kept raining in torrents from the sky, that there was no point in doing anything else

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The Elizabeth street facade of the Commonwealth Bank Building   (Oct 2020,  431kb)

Ponzimonium: We ran a Koretz immigration scheme to prop up the Madoff property market to keep the Mavrodi banks flush

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Wedding Cake rock, RNP   (Jul 2019,  283kb)

Squad goals: We played in teams, gave 110% to find the back of the net, and were good sports with your money

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Vitamin pill promotion at Martin Place in Sydney   (Oct 2014,  1017kb)

Creating value: From warehouses to office blocks to short-term lease apartments

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Motorways and the former Caltex building, Sydney   (Sep 2016,  204kb)

The user-pays model: We recoiled from the idea that our generation should pay for infrastructure that we would never live to use

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Government hoarding at Westpac Plaza, Barangaroo   (Aug 2016,  318kb)

Stroking the hidden hand: We were free to choose a comfortable but less remarkable life

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Homeless tents at Wentworth Park, Sydney   (Jul 2017,  481kb)

Extremely well serviced: Only the wealthiest parts of our cities had regular bus, rail and ferry services

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The F5 Neutral Bay ferry leaves Kirribilli wharf   (Nov 2020,  305kb)

Borderline conundrum: Self-service was self-defeating when there was no service to serve

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Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, unused self-service check-in and baggage drop facilities at Sydney Airport's T1 International Terminal, Friday afternoon 12:30 pm   (Oct 2020,  240kb)

Too big to fail: It took a long time to establish a perfectly balanced equilibrium of collateralised debt and rising property values

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Barangaroo office construction, Millers Point   (Aug 2016,  508kb)

Franchisee nation: The nature of employment changed. We didn't know what the new jobs would be, but we knew they would surely come

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Food cart on 37th Street, NYC   (Oct 2017,  486kb)

Fumbling the revolution: We threw off the shackles of a command economy to enjoy the benefits of privatisation

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Street vendors 200m from the Kremlin on Tverskaya St, Moscow   (Dec 1991,  328kb)

Look back in covfefe: Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that's more productive (Trump, 1987)

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Trump impersonator on Broadway, NYC   (Oct 2017,  332kb)

Uncomfortable at times: Events were still on, motels were still open, restaurants were still serving food and pubs were still pouring beer (Ayers, 2020)

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Tour group at the Sydney Opera House forecourt during the summer bushfires   (Jan 2020,  373kb)

Both feet on the ladder: We all became millionaires by flipping real estate to each other at ever increasing prices

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Renovations in suburban Stanmore   (Sep 2012,  207kb)

What this little black rock could do: We have to make sure this economy works. We have to export dollars. We have to realise we have a moral responsibility to other people in other nations to keep their lights on (Joyce, 2017)

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The Steelworks and Coal Loader at Port Kembla harbour   (Sep 2014,  138kb)

Unearthing the past: The house is gone and the yard excavated so deep that every trace of your childhood was obliterated

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What was once 12 Kensington Street in Kogarah   (Apr 2011,  371kb)

Bubble watch: Given the large increases in housing prices in some cities, and ongoing strength in lending to investors in housing assets, members also agreed that developments in the housing market would bear careful monitoring (RBA, 2015)

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Spectators on the steps of the former CBC Bank, Martin Place   (Apr 2006,  302kb)

Potemkin Prosperity: The central irony of the financial crisis was that while it was caused by too much confidence, too much borrowing & lending and too much spending — it could only be resolved with more confidence, more borrowing & lending, and more spending (Summers, 2011)

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Fields of green shoots at the Westpac plaza in Sydney   (Jan 2014,  580kb)

This Land Is Our Land: Keep doubling the population every 35 years → increased aggregate demand → greater aggregate GDP → stronger budget outcomes → potentially higher rates of workforce participation → boosted supply-side potential → likely productivity benefits → projected greater aggregate income → accelerating property values → windfall capital gains & property taxes → wealthier property-investors → bustling streets → more toll-roads, apartment blocks & shopping malls → more bathhouses & shisha lounges → more construction & business services → more mortgages → more stamp-duties → more negative gearing on property investments → more prosperous banks → more tourism & international students → more university & private college enrolments → more cash-in-hand pizza workers → more online food delivery independent contractors → more waiters, maids, nannies, concierges & community-liaison officers → increasing remittances to family & sponsors overseas → more money in everyone's hip pocket

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Front-yard garden gnomes in Summer Hill, Sydney   (Oct 2016,  620kb)

Alpha Omega: We poured every last atom of our faith into property

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Birrell Street front yard, Bondi Junction   (Oct 2018,  441kb)

Wealth always trickled down: Our system endured for so long because enough of the electorate believed they still had some chance to get rich (Citigroup, 2005)

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Begging for loose change near Sydney Town Hall   (Sep 2016,  405kb)

Spare capacity: We solved mass unemployment by statistically redefining just what it meant to be “employed”

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Red flags at the Circular Quay promenade   (Jul 1992,  452kb)

Practising our future: We poured resources into whatever appealed to our sense of adventure

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Abandoned front yard yacht, Kirribilli   (Jan 2020,  588kb)

Agile entrepreneurs: Surveillance cameras [✓]  Motion-activated floodlights [✓]  Canvas-covered windows [✓]  3m high fencing [✓]  Steel chained front gates [✓]  Threatening no-trespass signs [✓]  Resourceful SMEs serving a niche-market [✓]

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Domestic bliss on Neville Street in Marrickville   (Sep 2012,  372kb)

Segregation now, tomorrow & forever: Few could afford the right to live in their own city

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Distillery Drive cutting at Jacksons Landing, in Pyrmont   (Jan 2013,  314kb)

Flags of convenience: Our vision was to create a better everyday life, by getting our customers to do all the work

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The united nations of IKEA, at Tempe   (Sep 2012,  209kb)

Consumer karoshi: We needed to create a culture in which our customers were prepared to die

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Market Street escalators at Centrepoint, Sydney   (Jan 2016,  359kb)

Reflating the economy: We proved that old debt could be effortlessly retired by taking on new debt

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Tumbalong Park attractions, Darling Harbour   (Jul 2014,  351kb)

Clip service: Legacy media could always look forward to a future brimming with promise

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Testaroossa Sammy-Santino Mens Hairstylist, Double Bay   (Jan 2019,  455kb)

Curate an educational passport: The uncapping of university places achieved exactly what it set out to do

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University of Sydney main quadrangle   (Oct 2017,  533kb)

Keeping interest rates low: Whatever happened, cheap debt could not be blamed

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Used car-yard at Parramatta Road Granville   (Apr 2017,  352kb)

The best that money can buy: Of particular interest to ICAC has been the planning decisions along Canterbury Road and Charles Street, which saw some Liberal and Labor councillors voting together to approve developments which council's planning staff had previously rejected due to non compliance (SMH, 2017)

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Apartment construction at Charles Str, Canterbury   (Oct 2015,  436kb)

The road to zero: A globalised market where all tastes were equal and we voted only with our dollars

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William Street beverage hoarding (since rebuilt) at Kings Cross   (Oct 2012,  332kb)

Frictionless intermediation: Because the Sharing Economy sounded so much nicer than Government Regulation Evading Extractive Capitalism (NYTimes, 2017)

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Subterranean ingress and egress aperture cover at Watsons Bay   (Dec 2014,  799kb)

Pivoting to home delivery: HungryPanda, Foodora, Uber Eats, DoorDash, EASI, Menulog, Deliveroo, Hey You, GrubHub, goPuff, EatNow, Yelp… We imported an underclass of casual independent contractors to zip around delivering authentic pad thai, burrito bowls and bubble-tea (ABC News, 2020)

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Online food delivery rider at Haymarket, near Chinatown   (Apr 2020,  257kb)

Practical streetwise living: Stretch out in hygge comfort to snuggle beneath an extra blanket

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Pitt Street Mall food-court entrance, Sydney   (Jan 2019,  366kb)

The shadow state: Our top-down, monolithic, globalist system will endure forever

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North from the Empire State Building   (Oct 2017,  610kb)

Forging a new deal: The transition from manufacturing to a service-based economy was effortlessly seamless

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Derelict Ford truck at The Grounds of Alexandria   (Apr 2018,  631kb)

Strength Through Joy: The market faithfully rewarded those with a long-term view

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Luna Park Hair Raiser ride, in the rain   (Jan 2019,  240kb)

Kriegsende 1989: Cheap goods turned out to be more effective than ICBMs

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Stall on Tverskaya St, Moscow   (Dec 1991,  403kb)

Surrogate activities: The illusion of economic activity was sustained by creating archipelagos of empty construction sites

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Green Square hoardings at Zetland   (Nov 2018,  350kb)

Jobs & Growth: Social cohesion was a frivolous luxury we could no longer afford

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Wall markings behind Parramatta Road, Strathfield   (Jul 2014,  381kb)

Only a tap away: With interest rates at five-thousand-year lows, affordable mortgages were flying out the door

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Art Gallery of NSW window looking east, Sydney   (Mar 2019,  353kb)

Ghosts of the CBD: Governments pleaded with voters to return to the cities to restart the economy

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King Street pedestrians head home after work, Sydney CBD   (Sep 2016,  248kb)

Life in the Bunkercene: The Lockdown caused us to cocoon just that little bit extra

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Martin Place hoardings, Sydney   (Mar 2019,  237kb)

Have a go to get a go: We lived modestly and well within our means. We worked hard, spent wisely and made prudent investments. So we deserved to keep more of what we earned

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Hopetoun Road Toorak, Melbourne   (Apr 2019,  288kb)

Creative Destruction: The only way to neutralise dissent was by levelling the playing-field

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The abandoned White Bay Power Station at Rozelle   (Jan 2013,  241kb)

Quality by design: Exclusively appointed apartments riddled with gross structural defects

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Nevada Apartments remediation at Darling Point   (Dec 2018,  277kb)

Rust belt potential: Our suburbs were riddled with propagation and replacement

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Lett Lane, Lithgow   (Jun 2019,  506kb)

Socially responsible trading: Click and collect inside the retail bubble, during yet another COVID-19 lockdown

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George Street boutique, Sydney   (Jul 2021,  211kb)

Exit strategy: With a strong economy and well-paying jobs that we could easily change; with free education, fully resourced public hospitals and affordable housing; with strong social cohesion and connectedness and an innate sense of purpose and belonging — how could we have been anything other than healthy, prosperous and optimistic?

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Fig Street tunnel, Ultimo   (Jul 2017,  573kb)

Back-to-back meetings: When cities went into COVID-19 lockdown, CBDs became filled with empty commercial properties with few tenants to pay the optimistically inflated rents

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Queen Street office building at night, Melbourne   (Apr 2019,  222kb)

In Goldman, Sachs We Trust: The financial sector was the bedrock of our entire social structure and enabled massive cultural progression — whereas the 1960s were squandered on aerospace and NASA, the 2000s had asset growth via cheap debt and the ISDA

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The financial district in eastern Sydney, with the rocket-shaped 1 O'Connell Street in the middle background   (Jul 2011,  213kb)

Everywhere the glint of gold: Vibrant cities crammed full of soaring casinos, buzzing with energy and excitement and industrial-scale money-laundering

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Microflite City Helipad, Yarra River Melbourne   (Apr 2019,  352kb)

Canyons of gold: The decision to pour billions of dollars into commercial property turned out to be not such a good bet

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Castlereagh Street buildings, Sydney   (Jan 2019,  201kb)

Tyburn revisited: Decades of infrastructure deals and back-room favours had to end sometime

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Sydney Metro Project construction site, Martin Place   (Jul 2019,  320kb)

All snakes, no ladders: We stuck to the plan, even though we kept changing it

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Subterranean utilities footpath markings outside the QVB   (Apr 2015,  444kb)

Financial kinesiology: Despite all the green-shoots, confidence, sound fundamentals and near-zero interest rates, it appeared we didn't survive the crash

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Outside the Sydney branch of the Deutsche Bank in Hunter Street.

A bank security guard tried to prevent me from taking this photograph due to copyright reasons. I hope he enjoyed my detailed and patient lecture on photography-rights   (Jan 2012,  203kb)

The rising tide lifted all super-yachts: No matter how bad things looked, income inequality did not get worse (Morrison, 2017)

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Darling Harbour Marina   (Jan 2017,  249kb)

Zero sum game: The link between free trade and rising global prosperity was self-evident: designed in the USA → marketed from the UK → manufactured by Uyghur forced-labour → shipped via Panama → channelled through a Singaporean marketing-hub → transfer-priced through Luxembourg → laundered in a Melbourne casino → banked in the Cayman Islands → stashed away in a Geneva Freeport vault → splurged on trophy homes, super-yachts, racing cars, helicopters, private school fees, casinos, parties, mistresses, divorce lawyers, bribes and drugs… in New York, Beijing, Bucharest, Lagos, Monaco, Riga and Riyadh

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Shipping container facility at Tempe, near Sydney Airport   (Sep 2012,  313kb)

A pattern of abundance: Full automation was the next stage in our collaborative journey

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NTP Forklifts (since relocated), at Woodville Road Granville   (Apr 2017,  321kb)

Boom without end: There was no disconnect between the prosperity we enjoyed and the systematic initiatives we undertook to achieve them

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Philip Lodge Motel demolition at Haberfield   (Jun 2016,  487kb)

Living in an asset society: We denounced the enemies of growth

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Suburban Toorak, Melbourne   (Apr 2019,  276kb)

Down from the mountain: … and into the markdowns

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Leura antique store   (Oct 2018,  291kb)

Practice social distancing: So we stayed home, most of the time

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Townhall Arcade foot court   (Jul 2021,  255kb)

The golden hoard: We built stacks of empty apartments for short-term yield-desperate investors

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The construction boom at Wentworth Point   (Sep 2016,  407kb)

The retail ziggurat: The ideological apex of our commercial sector was the domestic-consumption economic model

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Shopping trolleys huddle beneath the mobile-phone towers on top of Marketplace Leichhardt   (Sep 2010,  385kb)

Defenestrate your livelihood: We mortgaged the future and bet it all on there not being one

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The Coal Loader wharf, Waverton   (Jul 2017,  557kb)

A licence to kill: There was nothing on your dinner table that wasn't put there by conscientious and highly skilled transport professionals

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The “roo bar” of a prime-mover at Kings Langley, near Blacktown   (Aug 2015,  361kb)

A million jobs Mr Speaker: Offshoring brought huge economic benefits which were shared equally

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Shepherd Street factory yard, at Marrickville   (Sep 2012,  352kb)

Future growth model: A bustling economy filled with baristas, bloggers, unpaid interns and food delivery independent contractors

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Lower Baldwin Street, Dunedin NZ   (Nov 2017,  347kb)

Flygskam: One cheap long-haul flight produced more CO2 per passenger than driving an SUV for four months

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Runway approach lights, Sydney International Airport   (May 2019,  151kb)

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