EDITOR'S PICKS

In this week's essential reading guide Kohler grades the Asian Century white paper, Gottliebsen warns against foreign raids, Bartholomeusz takes stock of Virgin's battle plans and Koukoulas explains why government debt needs to keep rising.

White paper, wish paper
Alan Kohler
Labor's Asian Century white paper describes a most excellent future for Australia. It's also choc full of unfounded fantasies and empty promises.

Empty stomachs at Canberra's Asian banquet
John Lee
Few analysts in Asia see the region's collective rise as inevitable or even probable. And underestimating labour, capital and political challenges will only lead to missed opportunities for Australia.

Virgin reveals its battle formation
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Virgin Australia's deals with low-cost Tiger and regional Skywest ready the airline to take on Qantas on every domestic front – for itself and its international backers.

The four horsemen of Arrium's near apocalypse
Robert Gottliebsen
The botched bid for Arrium by South Korea's Posco highlights how Australia's institutions have become too blinkered. Investors should wake up before we lose key companies to foreign raids.

Australia’s super system is a national disgrace
Alan Kohler
Essentially unregulated investment fees aren't even the worst thing about Australia's superannuation lottery... it's the brutal risks to which investments are routinely exposed.

A dark shadow over NAB's result
Stephen Bartholomeusz
National Australia Bank's UK assets will continue to weigh on profit for some years. It's significant Cameron Clyne was able to hold cash earnings relatively steady.

Abbott's now in real fiscal trouble
Rob Burgess
As business warns Canberra against spending cuts and the argument against extreme austerity gains global traction, the Coalition has some serious restrategising to do.

Why government debt must grow forever
Stephen Koukoulas
Even as the federal budget returns to surplus, government debt will have to rise to maintain the liquidity of Australia's AAA bond market at around 12-14 per cent of GDP.

Why a 'back to the future' budget will fail
Steve Keen
A federal budget surplus based on the logic that created overheated asset classes pre-GFC will only promote new finance and real estate bubbles... and the signs are already emerging.

When Sandy crashed into Uncle Sam
Alexander Liddington-Cox
Without having yet made landfall, Hurricane Sandy is cutting a swath, Lehman-style, through the presidential campaign – inevitably forcing candidates onto a political tightrope and firing up a new narrative for pundits.

On the cusp of a new US prosperity
Robert Gottliebsen
As the next US presidency steps into a new age of fortune based on shale gas, Australia will be in the front line of global ramifications.

A fearsome fiscal missive from Europe
Stephen Koukoulas
As eurozone unemployment advances, Greek GDP forecasts continue to plummet and Athens warns the country is one troika meeting from chaos, prospects of a European recovery are looking thinner.

Germany’s gold rush to the head
Oliver Marc Hartwich
Germany's recent wealth surprise has sparked much debate over how to spend its newfound national treasure. Given the eurozone's precarious future, it may be safer to keep the gold where it is.

CLIMATE SPECTATOR: Taking the heat out of power prices
Tristan Edis
Intense focus on electricity bills brings a unique opportunity for reform. But as WA shows, if governments overreact and restricts the use of markets, we will be feeling power price pain for a while yet.

TECHNOLOGY SPECTATOR: Why Windows 8 is a hard sell
Neerav Bhatt
Microsoft's re-imagination of the PC world looks a confusing mess and it's hard to see why organisations will feel the need to upgrade.

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