Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs is a security specialist and policy expert, having worked for Australia’s National Security Adviser and as a lead planner for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Brisbane G20 Leaders’ Summit. He is also a former Brisbane City Council election candidate, ministerial adviser, United Nations worker, international youth volunteer, and national water polo champion. [READ MORE]

Latest Posts

Benjamin Franklin in the Pacific Islands?

What an American founding father can still teach us about life and wealth For some time now I’ve thought about what the great Benjamin Franklin would say if he took a walk (or paddle) through the Pacific Islands. Franklin, who helped found the United States, is one of the most well-known figures in history for contributions to writing, publishing, diplomacy, innovation and politics. The most accomplished American of his generation, and arguably of all time, he has provided generations with universal advice on ‘the way to wealth’ through simple values like thrift, industry and frugality. He delivered this advice at […]

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Rhodes, student politics and a small warning for PNG

Earlier last month South African students from the University of Cape Town rallied, threw excrement and tore down a statue of the historically prodigious businessman and politician Cecil John Rhodes (1853 – 1902). Rhodes is most clearly remembered for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, which has sponsored thousands of students globally – many of them African – to study at one of the finest universities in the world. At around the same time similar public taunts emerged around South Africa against symbols of white colonialism and imperialism. These acts are clearly distressing in a number of ways but, to audiences in former […]

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Why ‘taking on big business’ is a poor idea

Dropping tax is an effective but underappreciated revenue maker ‘Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot,’ said Winston Churchill. ‘Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is – the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.’ Thirty-one year old ALP Senator Sam Dastyari is clearly not one of the handful. A recent profile of Dastyari exposes not only an alarming ignorance of tax and economic growth but everything that is slowly becoming wrong with Australian politics, which catapults people with […]

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Testament to power: remembering Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew

‘We start with self-reliance,’ said the late Lee Kuan Yew in a 1994 interview. ‘In the West today it is the opposite. The government says give me a popular mandate and I will solve all society’s problems.’ On 22 March 2015 Lee passed away at age ninety-one. The end of his remarkable life offers a sobering reflection on what it takes to actually build an economic pie and not just cut it up – a practice many of today’s democratic practitioners appear exceptional at. Singapore now thrives alongside the Silicon Valleys and Tel Avivs of the world. Back in the […]

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From the Solomon Islands to Houston: the harmful trend of government dependence

At a recent dinner in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, a friend commented on the unprecedented and increasing level of government dependence in the idyllic South Pacific nation of half a million. National elections, taking place at the time, were about how much the Solomon Islands could do for you rather than what you could do for the Solomon Islands (to muddle John F. Kennedy’s famous words). This trend is not just confined to ‘the Happy Islands’ – it’s clearly a discussion taking place among rich and poor at dinner tables around over the world. Annual budgets in neighbouring […]

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Literature, self-belief and affluence

Stories celebrating capitalism, promoting persistence and countering adversity can be a great way to build ideas of wealth creation among the next generation of Pacific Islanders. “There was nothing unusual about Rockefeller’s boyhood dreams,” writes John D. Rockefeller’s biographer Rob Chernow, “for the times were feeding avaricious fantasies in millions of susceptible schoolboys.” Having revolutionised the global petroleum industry in the late 1800s, and with an estimated net worth today of $US 330 billion, Rockefeller is one of the wealthiest individuals in history. Despite Rockefeller’s unique success the ideas that fuelled his boyhood dreams are common. Generations of young boys […]

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Renewing culture through economic growth

As the economies of the South Pacific grow cultures across the region will change. It’s my view that, ultimately, this process of change will be a good thing. This isn’t always an easy case to make. Crime rates, the transition from communally-held to privately-owned land and a breakdown of the traditional family structure may not appear symptoms of progress. Alongside the prevalence of vice, and health problems arising from an increased intake in processed food, the benefits of economic growth appear unsavoury to many Pacific Islanders. But we should consider two areas where the social benefits of economic activity will […]

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The Case Against Debt

Rarely are the harmful effects of debt explained or unpacked at length. Greed is often the main explanation for the 2008 Global Financial Crisis alongside Wall Street malpractice and complaints of ‘the top one percent.’ These are certainly much easier targets for blame than household debt, which appears to have a subtle but much more potent effect in causing and exacerbating recessions. This is the message of a new book called House of Debt: How They (And You) Caused the Great Recession by American economists Atif Mian and Amir Sufi. While technical in parts their argument is simple enough for […]

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Old truths: wealth creation in PNG

The cold fact is that most income is not distributed,’ says the American economist Thomas Sowell, ‘it is earned.’ Although there are concerns over ‘who’ will benefit from Papua New Guinea’s record economic growth, it should be unsurprising that most of this wealth will continue to levitate toward resource companies. To boldly assert that fortune should be ‘distributed’ is to misunderstand the nature of wealth in a free market and capitalist economy. PNG’s unprecedented economic growth over the past decade is expected to continue and even increase in the coming decades. It’s worth recalling that nearly all of this is […]

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Menzies, Capitalism and Instant Gratification

Ask a 20-year old how to get rich, says Keith Campbell, and they will likely give you three answers: “I can either be famous on reality TV, or I can go start a dot-com company and sell it to Google in about a week, or I can go work for Goldman Sachs and just steal money from old people.” Today the idea of instant gratification rightly faces a tough audience. Reward without effort closely resembles the entitlement culture of expectation minus responsibility found not just with young people. In criticising instant gratification, however, it becomes easy to blame two key […]

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