Welcome to the sixteenth issue of Insights

Insights publishes condensed and edited versions of important public lectures connected with the Faculty of Business and Economics. Its object is to share these lectures with the wider public, especially Alumni. The issues presented and developed generally relate to research findings on public economic and social policy. Insights also constitutes an archival source of an important part of Faculty life. Suggestions and comments from readers on any feature of the journal are welcome.


Editor’s Note

This edition opens with summaries of the proceedings of a pair of important two-day conferences. Since April 2002, the Outlook conferences co-hosted by the Melbourne Institute and The Australian newspaper have provided a major forum for leaders from politics, academia, business, the media and the community to discuss priorities for economic and social reform in Australia. Melbourne Institute director Deborah Cobb-Clark and her colleagues summarise contributions to the ninth conference in the series, held in July 2014, on the theme of 'pathways to growth: the reform imperative'.

In March 2014 the Department of Management and Marketing's Centre for Workplace Leadership hosted its inaugural conference on the 'future of work: people, place, technology' in conjunction with the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Cisco Systems Australia and Clayton Utz. Elisabeth Lopez and the Centre's director, Peter Gahan, outline the contributions of almost 50 domestic and international speakers.

All teaching departments now have programs in which leaders from business, the media and the professions spend time in departments, making their knowledge and expertise available to staff and students. Earlier this year, banker Harrison Young was executive-in-residence in the Department of Finance, and in the course of his visit gave a talk on 'lessons from a career in banking'.

In 2012, one of the Accounting Department's executives in residence was Gunther Burghardt, who followed his visit with an address to the 2014 induction ceremony for the Australian Accounting Hall of Fame, an initiative partnering the Department with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and CPA Australia.

Multinational corporations and the power they exert real or imagined frequently receive a bad press. Counter to this conventional wisdom, William Starbuck argues that, with appropriate governance changes, more powerful multinational corporations can be highly beneficial to humanity.

Concerned at three decades of stagnating real wages and growing income inequality, particularly in the US, Thomas Kochan offers some starting points for a 'next-generation social contract' aimed at reversing these trends.

Ross Garnaut sees opportunities for Australia's energy sector, even in a world of carbon constraints, arguing that through implementing appropriate policies, Australia can return to its traditional position as a low-cost energy producer.

Finally, parliamentarian-economist Andrew Leigh used the occasion of the launch of his book, The Economics of Just About Everything, to give a public lecture on several topics covered in the book, including what economics can tell us about guns and crime.

Sadly, Insights has to report the death on 18 March 2014 of Professor Colin Ferguson, a member of the journal's advisory board since 2012. Colin, who also contributed to Insights as an author, only joined the board in late 2012 but was already making an impact with his ideas for raising the journal's profile. A condolence message has been sent to his family.

Again, thanks must go to Gregory Baldwin whose vivid illustrations give each article added character.

Geoff Burrows
Editor

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