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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Although the claim is frequently repeated it is untrue that a debate about economic equality is underway. To those who follow it carefully it should quickly become clear that something else is happening. Take the recent discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos. A televised debate involving some of the main protagonists helps make […]
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 […]
The last thing I expected to be thinking about after a long and boozy Christmas lunch was economics. However, my first ride in an Uber taxi set me thinking. For those who have not used Uber, which operates in over 50 countries, it is service that allows users to order taxis using their mobile phone. […]
One of the great paradoxes of 2014 was the apparent mismatch between falling oil prices and military conflict in strategic regions. Normally fighting in the Middle East and the Ukraine would be expected to push up oil prices. Only this year the price has fallen sharply since June. According to the US Energy Information Administration […]
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