This is my latest article for the FT. Has the global preoccupation with extreme inequality peaked? This key question, posed by Labour’s unexpectedly poor performance in the recent UK general election, received little attention. The opposition party’s avowedly egalitarian stance failed to resonate with the electorate in sufficient numbers despite discontent at the government’s austerity […]
The critics of George Osborne’s proposed fiscal framework to make budget deficits illegal during “normal times” are missing the point. Its main flaw is not the fixation with balanced budgets but the idea that problems are best tackled with rules designed to outlaw errant behaviour. It was always likely that Keynesian economists, such as those who signed a letter in […]
This is a slightly edited version of my latest Polemic column for Fund Strategy. Although it was only uploaded today it was written shortly after the 7 May election. There was never any doubt about the result of the British election. Despite the months of vociferous arguments and heated exchanges the outcome was always a […]
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 […]
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 […]
The contemporary obsession with the super-rich often combines an intense interest in breathtaking bling with a quiet loathing of those with spectacular wealth. Both ingredients in this peculiar cocktail were on display in BBC2’s recent Meet the Super Rich season of documentaries. Rich, Russian and Living in London focused on the lavish lifestyle of wealthy […]
This is the text of my recent book review in the Financial Times Astute observers of capitalism have long recognised there is a tension at its heart. Although the market economy is based on the pursuit of self-interest, its legitimacy depends on benefiting the wider society. These two contrasting elements were understood as far back […]
This article was first published in the December issue of Fund Strategy. Of all the confusing areas of economics one of the most bewildering is public spending. Despite its centrality to public debate in Britain most people probably shrug their shoulders when they hear it being discussed. Yet its profile is likely to get higher […]
The biggest challenge facing the world economy is not the difficult economic conditions but what could be called gloomsters. These are the fatalists who think nothing much can be done about economic problems besides tinkering with monetary policy or public spending. Gloomsters are not what Margaret Thatcher long ago called “moaning minnies” . On the […]
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