The Boomer Legacy


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 civilisation and GDP was its only metric. Any attempt by governments or citizens to alter 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-value inflation.

Only a rules-based international order, free trade, comprehensive deregulation, nimble competition, privatisation, austerity, increasing foreign investment, persistent micro-economic reform and completely unfettered markets could never always determine the fair value of everything, and deliver increasing prosperity for the ruling-elite all.

Sample #2020
A million jobs Mr Speaker    (Sep 2012)

Topic Images

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Zero sum game: The link between free trade and rising global prosperity was obvious: designed in the USA → marketed from the UK → manufactured in the PRC → shipped via Panama → channelled through a Singaporean marketing-hub → transfer-priced through Luxembourg → laundered in Moldova → banked in the Cayman Islands → trinkets for trophy homes, super-yachts, racing cars, helicopters, private school fees, mistresses, divorce lawyers, drugs and bribes in New York, Beijing, Bucharest, Latvia, Lagos, Monaco and Riyadh

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

One country, two systems: Income versus Wealth Inequality — we focused and argued about the former whilst carefully ignoring the latter

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Woodcroft housing estate versus Harris Street Ultimo   (Jan 2013)

Double your money in 7–10 years: Dr Wilson said that Sydney was likely to have a $2 million median house price by 2030 and a $3 million median by 2038 (Daily Telegraph, 2018)

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Hopscotch squares at the Woodcroft housing estate, in Blacktown   (Dec 2012)

Exit strategy: With a strong economy that equally benefited everyone; with well-paying secure jobs that we could easily change; with free education, healthcare and inexpensive housing; with strong social cohesion and connectedness; with 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)

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)

Wealth always trickles down: Our system worked so well 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)

Practical streetwise living: Stretch out in comfort and throw on an extra blanket

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

Agile entrepreneurs: Surveillance cameras [✓]  Motion-activated floodlights [✓]  Canvas-covered windows [✓]  3m high fencing [✓]  Steel chains on the front gates [✓]  Threatening no-trespass signs [✓]  A resourceful SME serving a niche-market [✓]

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Domestic bliss on Neville Street in Marrickville   (Sep 2012)

The cranes were flying: In October 2016 there were more apartment construction cranes on the Australian eastern seaboard than in all the major cities in the USA

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Apartment construction cranes at Lewisham   (Sep 2015)

Demand-driven funding: The uncapping of university places achieved precisely what it set out to do (The Conversation, 2016)

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The immaculately kept lawn at the University of Sydney main quadrangle   (Oct 2017)

On the road to higher values: We spent big on infrastructure to accommodate growing populations

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

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

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

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

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Charging bull statue, NYC   (Oct 2017)

Forget your past: The house is gone and the yard excavated so deep that every trace of your childhood was carefully eliminated

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

A foot on the ladder: We all got richer by selling real estate to each other at ever-increasing prices

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Renovator's ladder in Stanmore, in Sydney's east   (Sep 2012)

Wave your paddle: Not a bubble but a sign of growing wealth: house prices barely rose 1½ percent a month, whereas incomes ballooned 250 basis points every single year

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Stop/ Go drive-way traffic lights at Longworth Ave, in Point Piper   (Sep 2012)

Surrogate activities: The illusion of economic activity was maintained by creating an archipelago of empty construction sites

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Green Square hoardings at Zetland   (Nov 2018)

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)

Alpha Omega: We put all our faith in property

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Birrell Street front yard, Bondi Junction   (Oct 2018)

Incentives to succeed: We held these truths to be self-evident: that the Wealthy were job creators and that benefits of Economic Growth were distributed equally

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The rear of a Korean restaurant, in a Pitt Street Lane near Town Hall   (Oct 2012)

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 misspent on aerospace and NASA, the 2000s had growing wealth 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)

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)

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)

The retail ziggurat: The consumer economy was the ultimate pyramid scheme

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

Bubble watching: 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)

Down from the mountain: … and into the markdowns

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Leura antique store   (Oct 2018)

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

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Tumbalong Park attractions, Darling Harbour   (Jul 2014)

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

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Philip Lodge Motel demolition at Haberfield   (Jun 2016)

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

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

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)

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)

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)

The Chosen One: Trump-bashing was an international sport that every activist posing as a journalist could play (NYTimes, 2019)

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Broadway Donny Trump, NYC   (Oct 2017)

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

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

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)

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 payments (Gittins, 2017)

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

Unpack & declutter: We created challenging and evolving retail markets

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Abandoned docks, Cresswell & Devon Str Dunedin, NZ   (Dec 2017)

Empty Nesters: The price of an abandoned house increased by more each day than most workers could earn in a week (REA Group, 2017)

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Irelands Road in Blacktown, western Sydney   (Nov 2012)

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)

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

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

Clip service: Print media could always look forward to a bright future

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

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)

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)

Binding energy: 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)

Internal exodus: When people and businesses leave a regional community to take up better opportunities elsewhere, this often generates greater value and so increases the overall well-being of the population as a whole. […] It is a trend that cannot, nor should be, thwarted (Productivity Commission Report, 2017)

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Parramatta Rd, Strathfield   (Apr 2015)

Waiting for the great leap forward: From brewery to Kowloon, the third-world was just around the corner

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Central Park development, at Broadway in Sydney   (Jul 2012)

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

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Church Street car dealership, Parramatta   (Apr 2017)

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

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Hopetoun Road Toorak, Melbourne   (Apr 2019)

Rise and fall: The market faithfully rewarded those who took a long-term view

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Luna Park Hair Raiser ride   (Jan 2019)

Genuine underlying growth: 150-year old graves and the Property Bubble

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The Futton Street cemetery at Penrith, behind St Stephens Anglican Church   (Dec 2010)

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

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North from the Empire State Building   (Oct 2017)

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

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Private wedding ceremony at St Marys Cathedral   (Mar 2019)

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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Green shoots at the Westpac plaza in Sydney   (Jan 2014)

The boom in retailing: Sell everything and cancel Christmas

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82 McEvoy Street, Alexandria   (Mar 2018)

Creating value: Ghost offices; zombie flats; vacant leases

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Weeds grew on an abandoned eight-storey office-block used for land-banking, at Clarence Street in Sydney   (Oct 2012)

Perestroika revisited: Reaping the benefits of end-stage capitalism

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Lansdowne Street, Parramatta   (Apr 2017)

Squad goals: We played in teams and used your money to score points

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

A working harbour: We moored our luxury craft where people once earned a living

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Pier 21 at Jones Bay Wharf, in Pyrmont   (Jan 2013)

Flags of convenience: Our vision was to create a better everyday life by getting our customers to work for free

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

A rising tide lifts all yachts: No matter how bad things looked, income inequality did not get worse (Morrison, 2017)

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Darling Harbour Marina   (Jan 2017)

Rent not Enterprise: Anyone can become a property tycoon, but they have not got the guts or they have not got the money (Triguboff, 2014)

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Vacant commercial land at Lawson in the Blue Mountains   (Jan 2012)

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

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

The golden hoard: We built stacks of casino-chip apartments for short-term yield-desperate “investors”

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The construction boom at Wentworth Point   (Sep 2016)

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

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

Prosperity was always just around the corner: Because positive reform had no limits

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Red flags at the Circular Quay promenade   (Jul 1992)

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

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NTP Forklifts, at Woodville Road Granville   (Apr 2017)

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)

Fumbling the revolution: Cheap goods turned out to be better than bullets

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

Only a tap away: With interest rates at 5000-year lows, affordable mortgages were flying out the door

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

Calling the next bust: Waiting for the series of technical indicators of irrational exuberance

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Financial journalist at the Sydney ASX   (Oct 2018)

Public Private Partnerships: Marxism without the dialectic, Socialism in one class

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The southern ramp to the Anzac Bridge, at Pyrmont in Sydney   (Jan 2013)

Spare capacity: The more you spent, the greater the love

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St Collins Lane shopping arcade, Melbourne   (Apr 2019)

Everywhere the glint of gold: Cities full of gleaming casinos, buzzing with energy and excitement

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Microflite City Helipad, Yarra River Melbourne   (Apr 2019)

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)

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

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Wall markings behind Parramatta Road, Strathfield   (Jul 2014)

Quantitative kinesiology: Despite all the green-shoots, confidence, sound fundamentals and record-low 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)

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)

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)

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)

This Land Is Our Land: Keep doubling the population every 35 years → larger markets → more dynamic consumers → increased demand → greater aggregate GDP → stronger budget outcomes → accelerating property values → windfall property taxes → buzzing & throbbing streets → congestion tax bonanza → more toll-roads, apartment blocks & shopping malls → more restaurants, backyard pools & entertainment → more volunteers & charities → more franking credit refunds → more negative gearing on property investments → wealthier property-billionaires → more mortgages → wealthier banks → more lobbying & political donations → more rezoning, deregulation & tax-reform → more vigour & competition → more construction & business services → more resources & infrastructure → more legislation, lawyers & prisons → more arable land, potable water & bumper harvests → cheaper travel & greater security → greater happiness from reunited families & communities → more university & private college enrolments → more management & meetings → increasing innovation → more skills → more retailing → more gigs & internships → potentially higher rates of workforce participation → likely productivity benefits → greater aggregate income → more remittances overseas → more money in everyone's hip pocket

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

Kriegsende 1989: We threw off the shackles of a command economy to enjoy the spoils of privatisation

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Stall on Tverskaya St, Moscow   (Dec 1991)

Knowledge-based economy: If you could no longer make a profit by making things, then you could profitably spend your time making things up

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The interior of the Queen Victoria Building, near Sydney Town Hall   (Jan 2012)

Luxury is a 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 live in style at Hogben Street in Kogarah   (Apr 2011)

In the circle of FIRE: We made so much money from fees & rents & short-term leases & debt & margin-accounts & franked dividends & big-dog meetings & arbitrage & fintech & hedge-funds & short-selling & bear-raids & wash-trades & spoofing & chop stocks & cold calling & put-calls & Basel 1 & buy-to-let & interest-only loans & liar loans & pay-day lending & gaming & wagering & money-laundering & terrorism financing & investment & divestment & offshore accounts & consultancies & casinos & cryptocurrencies & wealth-effects & advance-fee scams & offshore call-centre scams & DPRK sanction-running & petro-dollars & narco-dollars & loans to offshore shell companies & forex micro-trades & swaps & options & swaptions & binary options trading & discretionary trusts & family trusts & CDOs & COMOs & FOREX & FICCs & REITs & FAANGs & BATs & ETFs & FOMO & FONGO & insurance fraud & lying to corporate regulators & rewriting independent reports & unenforced enforceable-undertakings & repeal of Glass-Steagall & bank bill swap reference rates & LIBOR rigging & mirror trades & asset stripping & data mining & manipulating KPIs & faking customer referrals & forging client signatures & shredding customer files & charging deceased estates for unauthorised transactions & transfer pricing & efficiency dividends & cost-cutting & out-placing & workplace shadowing & wage theft & leader boards & team loyalty & engaged fellowships & bystander effects & buyouts & buybacks & takeovers & spin-offs & spin-outs & IPOs & LBOs & split-strikes & spread-bets & mergers & demergers & demutualisation & litigation & bonuses & golden parachutes & bankruptcies & foreclosures & liquidation & political donations & hiring ex-ministers & exceptionalism & impunity spells & bailouts & deregulation & rezoning & privatisation & tax-planning & tax-evasion & conjuring ever more abstruse financial products to ensure money kept raining from the skies, that there was little point in doing anything else

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The Elizabeth street facade of the Commonwealth Bank Building   (Jan 2014)

Unintended consequences: The truth was there for all to see

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Edgecliff Railway station newsagent   (Nov 2017)

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)

Progress ever upward: From warehouses to office blocks to short-term lease apartments

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

Future growth model: A bustling economy filled with baristas, bloggers and unpaid interns

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Lower Baldwin Street, Dunedin NZ   (Nov 2017)

Quality by design: Exclusively appointed apartments with no builders' warranty and riddled with gross structural defects

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Nevada Apartments remediation at Darling Point   (Dec 2018)

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

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One Circular Quay construction site, Sydney   (Jan 2018)

Supporting the Plutonomy: The non-rich only accounted for surprisingly small bites of the national pie (Citigroup, 2005)

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Power utility pole opposite the railway station in Warrimoo   (Feb 2011)

Renaissance postponed: Department stores tried their best to fight back

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

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)

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Market Street escalators at Centrepoint, Sydney   (Aug 2018)

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

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Construction cranes at Australian Technology Park   (Mar 2018)