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Self-employed update: Do we really need saving from ourselves?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

At ICA, we come across all sort of weird attacks on the self-employed. But one of the strangest is that we ‘screw over ourselves’. That was the argument mounted in California’s self-described ‘premier monthly business publication’, Comstock.

The ‘save us from ourselves’ argument was essentially the justification for Australia’s recent (fortunately failed) attempt to destroy the businesses of 35,000 owner-drivers. Lawyers are preparing the case for the class action to recover losses. Info here.  More...


Update: The fortunes of independent contracting

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The debate never seems to stop about whether being an independent worker is a good or bad thing.

Californian regulators and the Teamsters Union seem intent on forcing ride-sharing workers to be employees. There’s a $12 million lawsuit against Lyft  and Uber is involved in long drawn-out Californian litigation. Further, Californian lawmakers are looking to make it very difficult to work in the ‘gig’ economy.  More...


Politics isn't all that confusing. Really??

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Even a casual observer of US politics would be aware of the wild circus happening around Donald Trump. The core of the Trump ‘issue’ is the rejection of party political ‘machines’ stomping on the will of the people.

Even Trump’s most likely (fellow) Republican contender, Tea Party Congressman Ted Cruz, is an anti-Republican machine person. He’s led the Tea Party in pushing for smaller (no deficit) government against both Republicans and Democrats. But even the Tea Party describes Trump as a ‘narcissistic demagogue’. Could Trump win the Republican nomination? Here’s an excellent New York Times article explaining the Republican Convention voting process. Now there’s confusion! More...


UK self-employment surges—again

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It’s happened again. Self-employment in the United Kingdom has risen again, this time by 154,000 in the three months to December 2015, thereby making up more than half of the increase in UK jobs. We’ve been observing this since 2013. You’d think this surge in self-employment would level out at some stage, but it’s not happening yet. 

It’s a structural change in the UK economy and society with significant political standing. A demonstration of this occurred just last week. Our UK ‘sister’ organization IPSE (Independent Professionals and Self-Employed) attended 10 Downing Street as part of PM David Cameron’s preparation for his negotiations in Brussels over the UK-European Union agreement.  More...


How powerful institutions try to crush entrepreneurship

Sunday, February 07, 2016

In a recent news alert we discussed the rise of self-employment in the UK and Canada that is making up most of the new jobs in those countries. We discussed how China is discovering that the self-employed are the ‘happiest’ workers. This is part of the pattern of the ‘gig’ economy: Uber, Airbnb and many others creating a new economy. We call it ‘capitalism of the individual’; self-employment.  

This should be a welcome and exciting progression of human economic development. But, around the world, hugely powerful institutions are in the ‘suppression’ game. These institutions are government-funded and pursue their own agendas in a ‘Yes, Minister’ style of control over the political process. More...


‘I would rather cry in a BMW than laugh on the back of a bicycle’

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Global stock-markets are in a crashing frenzy over the economic ‘slow down’ in China. Yet China optimists would say that there’s an overreaction and that China is reshaping to a consumer society.

Perhaps the ‘new’ China of rampant consumerism was on raw display in the wildly popular Chinese TV dating show If you are the one. With 36 million regular viewers, one young female contestant disclosed her ‘love’ match criteria with the words ‘I would rather cry in a BMW than laugh on the back of a bicycle.’  Her comment made her an overnight celebrity. More...


A Changing World

Saturday, January 02, 2016

There’s probably no more startling evidence of change than the development of the ‘bionic human’. Watch this extraordinary TED presentation about the new bionics creating enhanced human capacity. Alleged disability becomes ability! It’ll have your mind leaping!

Just as will the ticklingly funny discussion (also on TED) between Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin exploring how women’s relationships differ from men’s. As we’re (ICA) interested in small business, it makes us wonder about how women manage small business differently from men. It’s a cultural difference! More...


Updates: Spotlight on transparency; insecure work, yet again

Thursday, December 10, 2015

This week, in Business Spectator, ICA Executive Director Ken Phillips wrote about a ‘mystery’ box that arrived in the post for him some years ago. It contained the true financial records of a major trade union. The records differed from the union’s publicly declared accounts. The point of Ken's article is that full transparency and disclosure should be imposed on the big superannuation funds or we could see corruption scandals in superannuation similar to those we are seeing with unions.  More...


The banks tried to stop fairness: Good-bye banks

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Australian banks tried hard to stop unfair contract laws for small business people and they nearly succeeded. Fortunately, the banks failed. Now the laws have been proclaimed and come into effect on 12 November 2016.

Here’s the new Act. Here’s what makes a contract clause unfair.
Here’s ACCC information. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) is now checking contractsMore...


Impeaching the Tax Commissioner (and other corruption)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Australians may not know all that much about the Tea Party in the USA. It’s effectively a party within the Republican Party defined as ‘hard right.’ Well, it is campaigning to have the US Tax (IRS) Commissioner impeached by Congress. In 2013, the IRS admitted that it had been targeting for scrutiny Tea Party groups in the 2012 election. Thousands of Tea Party members were targeted with ‘audits, threats and onerous interrogations’ because of their political affiliation.

Corruption or not by the IRS, it does demonstrate the extraordinary power of the instruments of the state. We don’t have a ‘corruption’ problem with the Australian Taxation Office but we did reiterate to Prime Minister Turnbull early this month that the treatment of self-employed people by the ATO is holding back entrepreneurship and innovation. The PM has referred our letter to the Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer and we will be talking with her.  More...



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