In this week's essential reading guide Kohler diagnoses a national economic crisis, Gottliebsen examine a new path for BHP, Bartholomeusz chews over the Qantas buyback and Burgess lays out Abbott's lesson from the Romney defeat.

What crisis? This crisis
Alan Kohler
Australia's trading conditions are a genuine national crisis. As the mining boom ends, there's nothing to take its place – and our Dutch disease won't necessarily end when the boom does.

Groupthink and gridlock in China's fifth generation
John Lee
China’s new leaders have been vested with great hopes for reform but deep factional divisions in the Politburo mean real change will be elusive.

Australia’s shocking budget mess
Alan Kohler
With both parties now promising to maintain impossible surpluses, the next election campaign will be as dismal as it will be ridiculous.

Sheikh Kloppers and BHP's 'new Saudi'
Robert Gottliebsen
Fracking technology has unlocked the energy equivalent of a new Saudi Arabia in America, with dire consequences for Australia's expensive gas sector. Thankfully, BHP is prepared.

BHP's new shale swagger
Alexander Liddington-Cox
As BHP Billiton's liquid shale returns grow and the company examines the prospect of US gas exports, its relative position in the American market is also gaining pace.

Gas construction costs dangerously overheating
Stephen Bartholomeusz
The PNG LNG cost blowout is another sign of the precarious position major gas projects are finding themselves in. With high construction costs at one end, and cheap US energy potentially flooding the market, the economics are looking shaky.

The second lesson of Romney's defeat
Rob Burgess
The aftermath of the US election reveals the old left-right ideological battle is dead, and if Abbott doesn't seek a more pragmatic approach he'll fall on his sword.

Australia's dangerous apartment rot
Robert Gottliebsen
As union activity drains Melbourne's apartment building system of liquidity, regulations encouraging flawed claims against builders are clouding the Sydney market.

A global pick-up on the rocks?
Stephen Koukoulas
Hopes that the global economy is improving are not supported by the downward trend in stocks, bonds and commodities, and central banks might be running out of fire power.

Mark Bouris' extreme CEO makeover
Robert Gottliebsen
The Yellow Brick Road founder's Macquarie tie-up is not only challenging the big four banks on margins, it's revolutionising the role of the chief executive in the process.

Canadian stink over a China gas deal
Christoper Mason
In Canada, China sees a country with potential to compete with Australia to feed its energy appetite. But Beijing is growing impatient with Canada's efforts.

Clear sky for Britain after all
Robert Gottliebsen
Britain's decision to stay out of Europe's monetary union could deliver new dividends in time as the region emerges from its turbulence.

QBE's Neal in the eye of the storm
Stephen Bartholomeusz
QBE's stock battering follows a claims blowout that's about more than just Sandy, and as the insurer's credibility comes under the spotlight John Neal will have his work cut out.

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