One of the most pervasive and damaging misconceptions in public debate is that economics can be understood from the perspective of the consumer. The acceptance of this blinkered worldview makes a balanced understanding of the economy impossible. Take the idea that the economy is suffering from a lack of confidence or “animal spirits” as the [...]
One of the most peculiar but least understood developments of our time is the emergence of billionaires against capitalism. Even some of the greatest beneficiaries of the market system seem deeply disillusioned with it. Bill Gates provided a striking example this week when he slated the market for distorting important priorities. He reportedly told a [...]
Anyone looking for an excellent example of the narrowness of the debate between “growth” and “austerity” need only look across the Channel. Anyone remember the days not long ago when François Hollande, France’s socialist president since May, was seen as a powerful force against austerity? He was widely portrayed as a counterweight to the pro-austerity [...]
This year I will be speaking at two sessions at the Battle of Ideas festival in London on the weekend of 20-21 October. The first will look at the discussion of austerity with Dan Atkinson of the Mail on Sunday, David Smith of the Sunday Times and Philippe Legrain also on the panel. Immediately after [...]
This is my Perspective column for this week’s issue of Fund Strategy. A strong challenge has emerged to the widely held view that living standards for the average American stagnated for many years even before 2007. This is an important debate to examine because it suggests that most people did not become more prosperous even [...]
This blog post was first published on Fundweb today. Those who believe that America’s recovery will lead it to regain its role as driver of the global economy are deluding themselves. Even leaving aside the flimsiness of America’s recent growth spurt it is many years since it was the engine of the world economy. For [...]
Is British decline, or that of the western world more generally, a bad thing? Many Britons would without hesitation say it is but the answer is not so straightforward. After more than three tough economic years it is not surprising that pessimism is so strong. The chaos in the eurozone has unnerved many Europeans. But [...]
“The key question hanging over the West now is ‘how do you allocate pain?’”. These were the words of Gillian Tett, the US managing editor of the Financial Times and ubiquitous media presence, in last night’s BBC2 Newsnight programme (six days left to view). As a description of the current mindset of the western elites [...]
My article on “consumer capitalism” for Fund Strategy magazine is on the Real Clear Markets portal today.
This is my latest Perspective column for Fund Strategy. Perhaps the most pervasive, peculiar and damaging preconception about the economy is that this is an age of consumer capitalism. From this perspective it is consumption, mainly by individual consumers, that drives economic activity. Although it is acknowledged that production played an important role in the [...]
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