Monday, December 24, 2007

Gittinomics, by Ross Gittins

Many Australian newspaper readers and telly watchers will be familiar with the work of economist Ross Gittins. In Gittinomics, which I think is his second book (Gittins’ Guide To Economics being the first), Mr Gittins expands his idea on economics and how it interweaves in our life, both at home and in the nation.

The refreshing thing about Gittins’ work is that he comes up with many interesting and surprising facts. If you’ve got a preconceived idea on a particular subject, expect to have it, if not turned upside down, at least turned on its side. He also likes to give the good and bad news when discussing key topics.

Like the aging of the population. The bad side may be a huge strain on our health care system. Yet on the good side there’s going to be a labour squeeze, which is of course good for employees, who will be much in demand.

My favourite parts of the book were the last few chapters that discussed housework and the work we do for ourselves, and why we should consider this part of the economy as well. I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I save money by making my own meals, or save money by riding to work instead of using public transport, I consider myself to be self-employed. The bonus of this system is that you get to work your own hours, from home and don’t have to pay any tax.

Surprisingly, people on two incomes who are making a lot of money are shelling out more and more money to have people do these basic chores for them. A common complaint from this group of people is that they don’t have enough money to buy all that they need.

Other chapters in this later vein talk about how consumerism, watching too much television, being too busy chasing more dollars, is making us unhappy. Gittins goes so far as to recommend that we actually sit back and do nothing! We need to relax more and simply enjoy being.
So there you go. A book on economic makes you think of the dullsville. Gittinomics is more a guide to life. Or as Gittins himself happily says, a self-help book.

For those who are looking to re-think their lives, or for those who are already living the life but would like to get some more ideas on how to make their lives even more rewarding, then Gittinomics is the book for you.

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