THE IIER-Australia


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The Institute for Integrated Economic Research-Australia

The Institute for Integrated Economic Research (IIER) - Australia was founded in 2018. It conducts and supports research in order to contribute to an improved understanding of how Australians can plan for, and navigate, the significant transitions in Energy, Environment and Economic Systems over forthcoming decades whilst maintaining the stability and security of our society.

These three areas are closely interlinked, but largely managed as separate competing issues, as a result of near-term political goals. We need a National Security Strategy that integrates these and other related systems, such as information and infrastructure, which are all critical components of national security.

To address this challenge, the Institute will engage with a range of Australian think tanks, Universities, Federal and State Government department representatives, media and relevant community groups.

The Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation. It will not lobby for, nor represent, any specific industry sector or business. The IIER-Australia Board members are : John Blackburn AO, Anne Borzycki, Neil Greet, Dr Hannes Kunz and Dr Gary Waters. The Institute’s first Fellow is Dr Simon Quilty.

The IIER-Australia is affiliated, but not financially / organisationally linked with the Europe based Institute for Integrated Economic Research. That Institute is a non-profit organization that is focused on identifying empirically validated macroeconomic system descriptions and models, and ensuring their dissemination. The IIER-Australia benefits from the extensive research conducted by the IIER in Europe.

The diagram below illustrates the fundamental challenge our generation faces …

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PUBLICATIONS

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Energy Security - Is there a problem?

Published in the Australian Defence Magazine, September 2018.

Unfortunately the topic of energy has become so politicised, both between the major parties and within the Liberal party, that the national interest has been subsumed by both party and personal interests. The reality is that energy security, like national security, can only be addressed with consistent bipartisan political support.

Whilst Australia is endowed with natural resources, energy security risks across several sectors have increased. Despite this, the Government does not seem to think we have a problem. Unfortunately, energy security is about much more than just a more “reliable” and cheaper electricity supply. It is about our security as a nation, it is about protecting our society and our way of life and, as such, it is a very complex issue.

There are are significant issues with our energy systems that should concern us all; unfortunately, the analysis of our energy security and resilience is inadequate and the management of energy security has been outsourced to the market. The idea that we are at peace and “business as usual” is the appropriate model where the markets can manage all aspects of our critical infrastructure and supply chains is clearly out of date.

Energy security is a vital component of national security and an increased level of Government control / leadership with respect to energy security is warranted. The discussion of these issues is not just for our politicians; it is our collective responsibility to discuss these issues and to tell our politicians what we need to have done and not wait to just complain after our energy systems fail. We need a National Security Strategy that integrates all aspects of national power. An energy security plan should be an integral part of such a strategy.


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Australia’s Economic Security: Is there a problem?

What is the risk for our National Security and Defence Capability?

Published in the Australian Defence Magazine, February 2019.

Financial and economic indicators that signal the start of a downturn are evident in advanced economies. Australia is at particular risk with households currently the second most indebted in the world and with a total private sector debt ratio of 205% of GDP. We are facing a serious economic security challenge; however, most Australians (including many of our politicians) do not appear to appreciate that economic security is the foundation of our national security.

We cannot rely on past economic performance and assume that we will have the resilience to address the significant economic risks in the decade ahead. Australians need to face an unpleasant reality and take appropriate action. We need a National Security Strategy that integrates all aspects of national power. An economic security plan should be an integral part of such a strategy.


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Are our Assumptions about Climate Change and Environmental Degradation a risk to National Security?

Today we are confronted by global environmental degradation and climate change, occurring at an unprecedented scale and speed; with cascading and ramifying risks transferred to infrastructure, energy systems and the global economy. At this scale climate change impacts at every level of our military and national security systems. Yet, while the interlinking of climate and environment with national security is recognised, it is still seen as a driver that attracts only secondary or tertiary importance. This article is the third of the opening series by the Institute of Integrated Economics Research (IIER) - Australia, and completes the trilogy of economics, energy and environment framed within a national security perspective.

This article was published in the June 2019 issue of the Australian Defence Magazine


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National Hydrogen Strategy Discussion Paper Response

This paper was submitted by the IIER-Australia in response to the invitation to respond to the COAG energy Council National Hydrogen Strategy Discussion Paper in April 2019. It concludes that Hydrogen can contribute to Australia’s national security by providing an alternative energy source that is domestically generated, Australian-owned, economically beneficial, environmentally sound if supported by policy that takes energy security seriously.

Developing the policies to deliver the National Hydrogen Strategy must occur within the framework of national security and be implemented under an integrated system level design.



INTERVIEWS

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John Blackburn’s Interview with Dr Robbin Laird- April 2019

The interview discusses an example of a common problem in Australia – a lack of systems thinking in the Government. The current energy focus is on exports and export earnings at the cost of domestic security and domestic cost of energy supplies. Blackburn argues that if you take a broader view, we could consider how different energy supplies / systems could be integrated under a comprehensive strategy which would enable exports but within an approach that was based first upon domestic costs and supply considerations and national security.



IIER (EUROPE)

The Institute for Integrated Economic Research is a non-profit organization based in Europe. It is focused on identifying empirically validated macroeconomic system descriptions and models, and ensuring their dissemination.


PRESENTATIONS

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In February 2018, Dr Hannes Kunz, President Board of Directors IIER visited Australia and gave this presentation at the Australian National University

Macroeconomics has locked into a view based on 250 years of industrialisation to describe an ecologically dangerous future. During the past 8 years new credit has globally grown at the fastest pace in tracked history, with less and less benefit for societies. Total levels are unsustainable and will eventually require a correction.

The presentation concludes that:

- Markets are fundamentally broken.

- Sustainable economic growth is a thing of the past - credit ballooning is a must to keep going

- We’re in a 5-15 year “positioning” period for various possible future scenarios

- There may be significant market movements (including upsides) during that period.

- Nothing is long-term predictable.


PUBLICATIONS

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IIER Paper - Revisiting the rules of economics

Most economic theories of the late 20th century are based on models built around the assumption of system-inherent growth. Despite still available headline GDP growth, most people in advanced economies are experiencing shrinking incomes and quickly growing cost of living.

Our world is not sufficiently prepared to deal with those trajectories. IIER research helps by shifting the focus of societies away from the objective of “getting growth back at all cost” to “mitigating possible stagnation or decline.”


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IIER Paper - Nudging 3% of voters to keep democracies intact

This paper discusses how to reduce the voter potential of far-right or -left movements with simplistic “solutions” just enough to keep them from taking power and turning an already precarious economic and societal situation to even more dire proportions.

One major obstacle in fighting fringe parties is that few politicians today are ready to tell voters the truth: that the future might hold less economic promise and that we must stop focusing on growth, but instead accept the challenge to focus on wellbeing on a broader scale. A large proportion of advanced societies’ populations intuitively grasps this reality, as polls show, but it is neither supported by the electoral discourse nor any other credible source.