PODCAST: Jonathan Tepper on Australia’s housing risk and the illusion of competition that’s killing wages growth

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BI’s David Scutt and Paul Colgan with Jonathan Tepper on the line from London. Rick Salter

It’s more than two years now since Jonathan Tepper predicted a catastrophic unravelling of Australia’s property market.

The founder of London-based advisory Variant Perception correctly called Spain’s post-GFC housing implosion and when we spoke to him on this week’s episode of Devils and Details, the first question was whether he still thinks it’s going to end in disaster.

“Yes, I do,” he says. “Howard Marks said that being too early is the same as being wrong, and to that extent, I was wrong… But the central thesis of our report has been borne out by the Royal Commission and if anything, I would say [it has] simply touched on the tip of the iceberg… The conduct of the banks has been atrocious across the board in Australia.”

Catch Devils and Details LIVE at The Ivy in Sydney on November 27th from 6.30pm, featuring some of our star contributors including Joanne Masters, Pete Wargent, Con Michalakis, Eleanor Creagh and Cameron Kusher. Tickets here.

To Tepper, this behaviour is what might be expected from the thesis of his new book, “The Myth of Capitalism”, which looks at the prevalence and influence of monopolies and oligopolies in advanced economies. While many industries at a national level may appear competitive, Tepper argues that closer inspections reveals firms are operating in environments with little to no competition, including when it comes to controlling wages, in turn driving the widening income inequality that has become a feature of major economies and arguably driven a dramatic reshaping of political landscapes.

Tepper is proudly pro-capitalist and quotes G.K. Chesterton’s line that the problem is not that there are too many capitalists, but too few.

It’s a wide-ranging discussion covering everything from big tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon to the airline industry and credit ratings agencies — a provocative discussion on the world we live in.

You can find the show on iTunes, online here, or tune in below. Enjoy!