Its like the Martian beauty contest — we’ve seen the first contestant, now we award the prize to the second, sight unseen.

The first candidate is the traditional, LibLab consensus, give the poor buggers welfare, but otherwise leave them alone and all will be well. It isn’t, of course, and so we are trying a different candidate — direct action, vigorous action, fix the problem at source. The professional do-gooders of both major parties have had a long time to improve things. Time for a more direct, focussed approach, folks.

Within days there will be 21 million Aussies. We are highly multi-cultural, on average older and richer than ever before but with widening gaps between rich and poor and with our own strongly rising debt, the phenomenon that is so worrying the gnomes of the BIS, as explained in yesterday’s Blog.

Another major point to be taken from the census is the northern and westward movement of wealth and people, as The Oz highlights:

While the nation’s two biggest cities languish economically — Sydney’s median household income rose just $7 a week in real terms since the last census in 2001, and Melbourne’s by $48 a week — they have been masked by strong performances elsewhere. Brisbane’s median household income grew by $154 a week across the same five-year period, and Perth’s by $151.

We sincerely hope our warnings have not contributed to the recent market slide. However, Wall Street rallied late in the day ahead of tomorrow’s Fed rate decision. The Dow rose 90.07, or 0.68%, to 13,427.73, after dropping 77 points earlier in the day. The blue-chip index had lost a total of 208 points in the previous three sessions.

But, honesty forces us to admit to applauding the markets reminding all and sundry that asset prices can fall as well as rise and that borrowing to buy assets is an inherently risky activity.

The fundamental point to remember is that world economic activity continues to grow strongly with restrained (if slowly rising) goods and services inflation. Short of a major shock causing a global financial crisis, any market correction will more likely to remove irrational exuberance than bring on economic disaster.

Brave investors will remember Lord Rothschild’s advice: “The time to buy is when the blood is running in the streets”.

Henry’s Lexington today offers more advice on avoiding the inevitable crash:

A critical mass has been reached, only awaiting a detonating event … be vigilant, have an action plan and most important know your investment time horizon (when you must use the capital) and your risk tolerance.

Read more at Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey