Uncategorized

This was first published as my Polemic column in the April edition of Fund Strategy. It may seem a stretch but the death of Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr Spock in Star Trek, reminded me of a key debate in economics. Even those who are not science fiction fans should bear with the argument as […]

It was almost inevitable that privatisation would provoke heated exchanges during Britain’s election campaign. Sadly it is to be expected that all sides should make misleading claims. Perhaps more surprising is that, despite the vociferous debate, the protagonists share so much in common. So far the discussion has focused on the NHS. Labour has for […]

This review was first published last Thursday in the Financial Times. Neoliberalism is frequently portrayed as the malevolent ideology of the super-rich. Its critics contend that its preference for minimal state regulation favours the strong over the weak. The conclusion usually drawn is that state powers need to be strengthened to protect the vulnerable. Unfortunately […]

When trying to refute a misplaced idea it is best to take its most coherent and lucid expression as a target. Taking apart a sloppily expressed argument is unlikely to convince many that its premises are fundamentally flawed. In the spirit of aiming at hard targets it is worth looking closely at the work of […]

It was only recently that I recognised the adoration Britain’s leading financial newspaper has for the man often dubbed the thinker behind the Occupy movement. The Financial Times published a long extract from David Graeber’s new book, The Utopia of Rules, on the front page of its weekend Life and Arts section. I quickly realised it […]

For those interested in my more technical articles here is a piece I wrote for the March issue of IPE magazine (it can also be read on the IPE website here). Smart beta has had a foothold in the foreign exchange market for years, although the approach is less pervasive than those of other asset […]

I feature on a discussion in Worldbytes’ TV “Don’t shout at the telly” slot. Topics discussed include inequality and quantitative easing (QE).

Those who see themselves as practical students of the real world are condemned to never understand it. To grasp how society works demands an entirely different approach. Simply responding to what happens to be in the news is doomed to yield superficial and one-sided results. The recent calls by economics students for their tutors to […]

The pious war against tax dodging is much more dangerous than any schemes for evading or avoiding tax. When individuals or corporations act to minimise their tax payments the worst that can happen is that the authorities lose billions in tax revenue. In contrast, the stakes in the sanctimonious offensive against tax dodging are much […]

It is one of the most bewildering discussions in a confusing area. Deflation is welcomed by some economists but condemned by others as a grave threat. Some basic distinctions are necessary to understand the debate. Let’s start by outlining recent developments. The eurozone’s inflation rate fell by 0.2 per cent in the year to December […]