THE ‘HAVES’ & ‘HAVE NOTS’: A report published in The Australian newspaper on 20.4.17 under the heading ‘Wages may have stalled, but inequality is not rising in Australia’, states in part: “Rising inequality is a central theme for Labor and the Greens. Bill Shorten deftly uses it to highlight Labor’s commitment to the social safety net and to the low-paid as well as drawing attention to the personal wealth of Malcolm Turnbull.

Despite those repeated claims from the left the report sets the record straight:The evidence from HILDA [Household Income and Labour Dynamics Survey] shows that, contrary to popular opinion, the pain has been evenly shared: the incomes of the top-earning 10 per cent have stagnated just as much as those of the bottom 10 per cent and everyone between.

If there is an economic explanation for the rise of populism in Australia, it is not the internal contradictions of capitalism generating rising inequality but, rather, the prolonged cyclical downturn in profits following the global financial crisis.

The good news is that profits are getting better, in Australia and around the world.

In the December quarter, pre-tax profits jumped by an extraordinary 67 per cent, thanks mainly to the revival in iron ore and coal prices. The non-resource sectors are also doing much better, their profits up 20 per cent. This will start filtering through to wages and living standards, without any intervention from the state.

Nicollo Machiavelli famously said: “Since my intention is to say something that will prove of practical use to the inquirer, I thought it proper to represent things as they are in real truth, rather than as they are imagined.” He too was a politician.