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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Are state pensions in crisis?

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and other Republicans have said that the cost of pensions to state employees is unaffordable, and a central reason why collective bargaining needs to be virtually eliminated. However, as I noted in my article on Wisconsin, it is understandable why the pensions appear under-funded today: This situation is due to the decline […]

European banks “in far greater danger than people realize”

The Eurozone economic crisis has been relatively quiet for some time, taking a back seat to other world events. But, in an interview in Der Spiegel, US economist Barry Eichengreen reminds us that all is still not well: The present bailout attempts have never made sense. Essentially, all Germany and France want to achieve with […]

Finance and the real economy

The Lex column in yesterday’s Financial Times picks up on the International Monetary Fund’s recent self-evaluation, in a piece entitled “Ignorant economists”. Specificially, Lex notes that one of the IMF’s self-confessed shortcomings was an “inadequate understanding of how finance influences the real economy”: The greatest challenge for all economists is to understand the dynamics of the financial-economic nexus. It is a […]

Do the global elite serve the masses?

That’s the motion of the current debate hosted by The Economist. It features Jamie Whyte, who argues “for”, and Daniel Ben-Ami, who argues “against”. This topic was also the conclusion to a January 20th special feature in the magazine on global leaders. Ben-Ami’s argument is not a simplistic, “the rich are bastards” one. Instead, he contends: The culture of limits […]

Focus on banks is a “giant displacement activity”

Last night Rob Killick spoke in a debate in London on whether the big banks should be broken up, along with Kitty Ussher of Demos and Philip Blond of Res Publica, and he has posted the text of his sharp speech on his blog (here). Killick argues that the focus on banking misses the point:  The financial boom and bust […]

This is a crisis of the state as well as the market

Thumbnail : This is a crisis of the state as well as the market

Some good books were written in the immediate aftermath of the financial crash in 2008 and 2009 – but those authors who spent more time reflecting before writing offer us the best insights. The latest spiked review of books includes my review of four books on the financial crisis: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by […]

GM’s IPO: not a return to former glory

Thumbnail : GM’s IPO: not a return to former glory

General Motors went public again last week, raising $23 billion in its initial public offering (IPO) – the country’s largest ever. The US government’s ownership stake was halved as a result. The successful offering appeared to vindicate the Obama administration’s decision to bail out the struggling automaker in early 2009. For many of those who support free markets […]

Visualizing the shadow banking system

Thumbnail : Visualizing the shadow banking system

This chart is a roadmap of “The Shadow Banking System”. It was created by economists at the New York Federal Reserve, and I learned about it from an article by Gillian Tett in the Financial Times. My picture of the map is hard to read here, but it does convey how complicated finance has become. The top […]

Brooks’ “liberals hard, conservatives soft”: a false dichotomy

In today’s New York Times, David Brooks writes about “the two cultures” he observes: Most of the psychologists, artists and moral philosophers I know are liberal, so it seems strange that American liberalism should adopt an economic philosophy that excludes psychology, emotion and morality. Yet that is what has happened. The economic approach embraced by […]

G-20 in Seoul: real conflict, but not a return to the 1930s

Conferences like last week’s G-20 gathering usually produce bland communiques and not much change. But the Seoul summit took this to an extreme: it involved real conflict which the final statement could barely conceal. As I recently described in spiked (here), the ostensible issue has to do with currencies and monetary policy, particularly between the austerity/trade […]

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