Stephen King: Roosevelt's lesson... a decisive act to break the psychology of depression

What should you do if your banking system doesn't work? Some will doubtless celebrate, arguing that banks are the source of all monetary evil. Others will panic, worrying about the onset of another Great Depression. Policymakers, though, should do neither of these things. They need, instead, to find a way to make the financial system function again.

Stephen King: 'Capitalism can be incredibly unstable and state intervention is back, big time'

Phew! That was some week. Lehman Brothers, the American investment bank which opened for business back in the 1840s, has gone. Merrill Lynch has been swallowed up by Bank of America. Manchester United's shirts and AIG are owned by the US government. Lloyds TSB has taken over HBOS. And, on Wednesday and Thursday, it looked like we were on the verge of another Great Depression, with shares in all manner of companies in freefall, and banks the world over on the point of capitulation.

Stephen King: As Madonna and the banks know, when trust is lost it's time to say your prayers

What do a Madonna concert and a banking crisis have in common? Not much, you might think. But, as I sat through an excruciating performance of "Borderline" in Wembley Stadium on Thursday night, I realised that Madonna and mammon go together rather well. The common link is trust (or its loss).

Stephen King: Interest rate cuts won't cause another bubble, but they could relieve the pain

Those who oppose interest rate cuts seem to base their arguments on one of three ideas. First, rate cuts won't work. Second, rate cuts will simply reignite earlier housing or stock market bubbles. Third, borrowers simply don't deserve rate cuts. Some people seem to believe in all three of these ideas, an approach which, to my mind, is nonsensical.

Stephen King: Zimbabwe and Jamaica run away with the economically adjusted Olympics

As we preen ourselves over our Olympic achievements, it's worth pausing to consider Britain's amazing haul of gold medals in the light of the broader economic context. Relative to our nation's population and wealth, how have we done in comparison to others?

Stephen King: A miserable time looms for America as the boomers become pensioners

Heaven knows, America's miserable now. With US unemployment up to 5.7 per cent in July, and with US inflation in June running at 5.0 per cent, life is no longer quite as comfortable as it used to be. Combining these two measures generates the so-called "misery index", a gauge of the overall degree of economic distress resulting from an unfortunate combination of rising joblessness and higher inflation. According to this calculation, Americans have every right to be feeling miserable: the index has reached its highest level since the early 1990s, when another George Bush presided over an economy which, like now, was on its knees.

Stephen King: Time for a spoonful of Reaganomics to help the inflation medicine go down

Last week, we learned that retail sales in the UK fell 3.9 per cent in June and that Tim Besley, a member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, voted at the last committee meeting for an interest rate increase. This combination is rather intriguing.

Stephen King: Public funds needed to resolve financial crisis – and taxpayer will pick up the bill

One swallow doth not a summer make. Two summers of financial crisis, though, are enough to make the most robust of policymakers swallow hard. Last year, the spike in money market rates, the banks' loss of confidence in one another, the collapse of securitisation and, eventually, the nasty accident now known as Northern Rock were, collectively, fairly indigestible. Many investors hoped, though, that policymakers had enough firepower to deal with these problems. Interest rate cuts, they opined, would be enough to do the trick.

Stephen King: What would the fashionable investor do now when desperate for returns?

Faced with an unfortunate rise in inflation and financial markets with a bad case of indigestion, what does the wise investor do? The old-fashioned, 1970s-style, wise investor would probably sell his entire government bond portfolio and, instead, buy so-called "real" assets which are directly linked to the performance of the economy. Thumbs up, then, for property, commodities and equities.

Stephen King: It's time for the central banks to take a lesson in emerging market economics

Despite all the talk of globalisation, mutual economic dependency and trade linkages, policymakers spend too much time focusing on the domestic minutiae and not enough on the really big international stories which determine our economic destinies. I know this because, like anyone else, I can log on to central bank websites and get a flavour of policymakers' concerns. The Federal Reserve and the Bank of England publish minutes of their regular policy pow-wows. Their discussions too often suggest the non-G7 world simply doesn't exist.

Stephen King: What if the Bank has lost its magic?

Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, told the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee last Thursday that "a change in the prices of food and energy relative to other prices can't by itself produce sustained inflation unless we allow other prices and wages to rise at a faster rate".

Stephen King: What if the Bank has lost its magic?

Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, told the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee last Thursday that "a change in the prices of food and energy relative to other prices can't by itself produce sustained inflation unless we allow other prices and wages to rise at a faster rate".

Stephen King: Pay restraint? Punk economics

Are we heading back to the 1970s? It all depends. As with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (a relic of the 1970s), the answer cannot be understood without, first of all, understanding the meaning of the question.

Stephen King: We must be cruel to be kind to save the world from a longer-term headache

There is, I think, an answer to the world economy's growing problem with inflation. It does, however, require acts of bravery on behalf of the developed world's policymakers and acts of maturity on behalf of policymakers in the emerging world. The solution is fraught with risks but at least it would be a coherent response to a crisis which has been associated with inaction and lame excuses.

Stephen King: The mounting dangers of central banks' high-wire act

A few months ago, economic life was both complicated and, yet, so simple. The US housing market was collapsing. The UK housing market seemed to be heading the same way. Banks on either side of the Atlantic were seeing profits haemorrhaging and capital disappearing. The cloying smell of recession was in the air. For central banks, then, the answer was really rather easy. Cut interest rates and hope that, in time, housing would stabilise, banks would recover and recession would be avoided.

News
Tour operators Thomas Cook and Tui have cut forecasts for this year
Travel companies may be feeling the pinch as Aegean holidays dwindle, but car sales are buoyant, says Jamie Nimmo
Voices
Polonius in ‘Hamlet’ counselled against debt
'Neither a borrower nor a lender be,' burbled Shakespeare’s Polonius. Ben Chu says it’s worth asking: Why do we borrow?
News
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin empire

Jim Armitage says that while it may sound good the $500m project has many pitfalls

News
The Chinese way: many investors haven’t completed high school

Shanghai Duolun Industry, a Chinese real estate company, managed to win over investors with a little re-branding in May. Ana Swanson reports.

News
Quindell deals in insurance claims but now faces its own sink or swim situation
The insurance claim outsourcer – the one-time darling of AIM – has shares suspended as new inquiry begins. Jamie Nimmo reports on an extraordinary fall from grace
News
The estate has pumped money into transforming Regent Street into a luxury retail attraction, with brands such as J.Crew
As the portfolio posts record profits, with West End plans afoot, it shows no sign of slowing. But the estate is also under scrutiny. Joanna Bourke reports
News
A protester shouts slogans during a pro-European demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens. Greece's international lenders raised hopes for a vital bailout agreement to save Athens from default and a possible euro exit, despite warning no deal was likely at an emergency summit
Jim Armitage on the two key points commentators unerringly miss about the Greek crisis talks
News
What does the Greek Prime Minister have in common with the men who ran big banks on the eve of the global financial crisis? Ben Chu reports
News
Ferrero, the Italian chocolatier behind Kinder Eggs, Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, now owns a 29.9 per cent stake in Thornton
Jim Armitage laments Thorntons disappearance into the Italian maw of Ferrero
News
This year’s model: the summer look at Asos. A £1,000 investment in the retailer in 2001 would now be worth £160,000
Amid scandals such as Langbar and success stories like Asos and Majestic Wine, investors will have mixed feelings on the junior market’s anniversary. Jamie Nimmo looks back on a chequered past and asks if the future will be more rewarding
News

Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, hasn’t been chilling out since selling to Unilever. As he tells Margareta Pagano, he’s still passionate about ‘hippy values’. And now he’s helping other entrepreneurs

News
Crowds in Walmart in California

There are lots of arguments about why Wal-Mart has been good for the American economy. Almost all are bunk, says Andrew Dewson.

News

George Osborne has put plenty of pressure on Royal Bank of Scotland. Make it safe, make it lend and, now, make it saleable.The Chancellor might have chosen to add another: make it invest in its computer systems. James Ashton reports

News
Block Workout is a gym, community centre and philosophy based in Brixton
News
Six banks were fined, including Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), for trying to manipulate foreign-currency prices are a stark reminder of the need for sweeping changes
Banks’ IT systems are “creaking” and it is because consumers want things like mobile phone banking services. James Moore reports
News
King Digital, the firm behind the hugely popular Candy Crush game, took its IPO to the New York Stock Exchange last year
More than half of Europe's 'unicorns' came from Britain in the past year. Jamie Nimmo investigates whether the UK has the financial market infrastructure to develop the next global technology giant
News
Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister, said bailout conditions had ‘asphyxiated’ his country
Leaving the euro would be a much better option for Greece. But politics points in one direction, economics in another. Hamish McRae navigates
News
A Qatar Airways 787 Dreamliner arriving at Heathrow Airport
It seems that it isn’t only migrant workers unfortunate enough to find themselves building stadia for the 2022 World Cup who get a rough time at the hands of Qatari employers. James Moore reports
News
A giant Hong Kong $100 banknote stands in the window of HSBC’s Asia headquarters, but local citizens are worried about competition for jobs as links to the Pearl River delta region are strengthened
The Pearl River delta is now the world’s most populous area, bigger than Tokyo with a matching economy. Clare Jim and Lawrence White report on HSBC’s efforts to tap into the region’s potential – and the risks the bank faces
News
Laura Moss, one of DACA's young entrepreneurs
Research shows that female small business leaders have greater entrepreneurial ambition than their male counterparts, says David Prosser
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