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Monday 15 September 2008
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).
Monday 28 July 2008
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.
Monday 07 July 2008
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.
Sunday 06 July 2008
The Mist is one of the most downbeat, serious-minded dramas ever to feature gigantic tentacled aliens from another dimension. Adapted from a novella by Stephen King, it's set almost entirely in a rural New England supermarket. An unfeasibly buff artist, Thomas Jane, is stocking up with his son there one morning, when the supermarket is enveloped in a white fog, and we soon see that cheaply computer-generated beasties are lurking within it. Jane and the other shoppers lock the doors.
Monday 30 June 2008
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".
Monday 16 June 2008
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.
Monday 09 June 2008
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.
Monday 02 June 2008
The inflation-targeting framework in the UK has seemingly been hugely successful over the years. Arguably, though, it's never really been tested in difficult times. Under current circumstances, with inflation rising and house prices falling, will the framework really be able to cope?
Stephen King: Will our central banks make a Freudian slip over their illusory control of price stability?
Tuesday 27 May 2008
Tuesday 06 May 2008
Most economists believe that globalisation is a good thing. By breaking down barriers between nations, globalisation leads to a more efficient allocation of labour and capital. Greater efficiency implies higher output and higher output, in turn, makes us all better off. That, at least, is the theory. Globalisation, however, incorporates a core paradox. It reduces income and wealth inequalities between nations yet it seems to increase these inequalities within nations.
Monday 28 April 2008
Students of economic developments in the 1970s and 1980s know all too well that the central bank par excellence during those two decades was Germany's Bundesbank. Its reputation in safeguarding the value of its currency, the Deutschmark, was second-to-none. Price stability, year-in, year-out, was supposedly its party trick.
Monday 07 April 2008
Tuesday 25 March 2008
One American bank failure and, apparently, we have proof that market economies just don't work. The move towards ever more deregulation is leading us all into another depression. Greedy capitalists, left to their own devices, will suck the blood out of our economies, leaving the rest of us to suffer ongoing economic hardship.
Thursday 13 March 2008
Monday 25 February 2008
So you think we've got an inflation problem? You may be right, but the West's inflation difficulties are nothing compared with the problems now facing many of the so-called "emerging" economies. China now has an inflation rate of 7.1 per cent. Saudi Arabia's inflation rate is 9.0 per cent. Russia's stands at 11.9 per cent. Argentina's inflation rate is, officially, a more modest 8.2 per cent, although many people, including those who work at the IMF, think the true inflation rate is a lot higher.
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more