In this week's essential reading guide Kohler weighs up Labor's chances, Gottliebsen recounts an ominous warning for Australia's economy, Bartholomeusz watches Murdoch's newspapers slip from his grasp and Maley fingers challenges for the latest ECB loan program.

The death of peak oil
Alan Kohler
Forget declining oil. The rise of shale energy in North America is producing a profound transformation of energy markets that could herald the second coming of the United States.

Kevin's kamikaze won't kill Labor
Alan Kohler
Despite the fracas in Canberra, Gillard and Labor's chances at the next election are far from terminal. This makes Rudd's late unfair dismissal action even more tragic.

Argus' grim warning to Australia
Robert Gottliebsen
Four graphs from Don Argus sound a frightening warning for the Australian economy: that serious productivity declines are set to hit growth, inflation and interest rates.

Five thorny issues for Gillard
Robert Gottliebsen
For Julia Gillard to transform her fresh confidence into better government, the reshuffled cabinet will need to tackle five tricky but critical issues.

NBN cleared for bumpy take-off
Stephen Bartholomeusz
With the ACCC's acceptance of Telstra's structural separation, the NBN is finally ready to proceed with momentum that will be hard to stop – but the delay may hit Wayne Swan's budget bottom line.

Murdoch's crumbling print pillars
Stephen Bartholomeusz
There are increasing indicators News Corp may sell or spin off its troublesome newspapers, Rupert Murdoch's love of print media notwithstanding.

Can the ECB avert catastrophe?
Karen Maley
The ECB's loan program has helped avert a global liquidity crisis, but concern is growing that European banks are overdependent and will struggle when the cash needs to be repaid.

A rotting foundation for US housing
Karen Maley
With house prices in much of the US now at their lowest point since mid-2006, fears are growing, despite Wall Street's optimism, that the country has entered a new period of decline.

Gillard is now a real threat to Abbott
Rob Burgess
If Kevin Rudd's defeat sees political discourse shift from the current ludicrous slanging match to something like serious debate, there's a good chance Tony Abbott will have a problem.

Seductive rumours of Abbott's demise
Rob Burgess
Constant leadership speculation, warranted or not, will spoil the chance of any serious policy development from either side of politics before next year's election. There is only one solution: we must send the press gallery far, far away.

A zero-sum carbon game
Oliver Marc Hartwich
Australia's policymakers could save $10bn if they learnt from Germany's carbon policy mistakes and realised there's no point subsidising carbon emission reductions if total emissions are capped anyway.

A new way to bet the house
Christopher Joye
A daily house price index which exposes original data in the residential property market could prove a game-changer for obsessed investors.

HR managers fire and forget
Leon Gettler
Outplacement agencies say most HR managers never follow up on how redundancies are managed, to the detriment of the company's reputation and of everyone involved.

Sailing adrift towards productivity
Christopher J Tipler
Management Insights: Since the mid-1980s, Australian economic policy has almost exclusively emphasised open market principles, with few other goals – but in our small economy this is like throwing a small and vulnerable ship into a swirling ocean.

TECHNOLOGY SPECTATOR: Why Demetriou is right about Optus
David Lowden
After losing its bid to gag AFL boss Andrew Demetriou, Optus has been reminded there's no such thing as a free lunch – or free content.

CLIMATE SPECTATOR: Self-interest and the carbon tax
Tristan Edis
The only thing holding up complaints by electricity generators and big business lobby groups about the carbon price is the self-interest of the organisations making them.

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