The delusions of Mr Dijsselbloem

March 26, 2017

“I can’t spend all my money on women and drink and then at the end ask for your help,” Mr Dijsselbloem, head of the euro area’s finance ministers, was cited as saying in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published a few days ago, alluding to the solidarity northern euro countries had shown […]

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Making sense of it

November 16, 2016

How did Trump become President? Here are some attempts to unravel this very unusual election.   The BBC stats and maths program More Or Less had some interesting analysis of the US elections results, including the fact that Hilary Clinton received 5 million less votes than Obama. The More or Less episode is called “US […]

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Against pessimism

November 9, 2016

On the Left, and amongst what might be called liberal opinion, there is a prevailing sense of pessimism. Pessimism is the default condition for most progressive commentators. Events like the Brexit vote, the refugee crisis and now Trump’s win can all make it seem as if the world is in a bad way and that […]

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The Mountain to Climb

September 28, 2016

As the Labour Party conferences winds down and the left is confirmed securely in control of the party it is worth taking a moment to consider the task ahead. And it’s a very big task. A new Fabian report, ‘The Mountain to Climb‘, reveals that victory for the Labour party will be more than twice […]

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Berlin blinks

July 31, 2016

  The leaders of the EU know they are skating on thin ice. The eurozone is mired in a deep and prolonged economic stagnation that has caused the worse mass unemployment in the periphery of Europe since the Depression. Of the big economic member states only Germany is doing remotely well (if you consider a […]

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What is Trump?

July 30, 2016

Six months ago Donald Trump looked like the method the Republican Party was going to choose to commit suicide. Now Trump looks like he might actually win the Presidency. How can we understand Donald Trump? The American writer Michael Lind has been writing a series of interesting articles analysing the Trump phenomena and situating it […]

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Some recent items of interest

July 29, 2016

  IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece writes the always interesting Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph “The International Monetary Fund’s top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending […]

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Austerity may be over – for the Eurozone banks

July 27, 2016

  The problems of the eurozone banks have escalated sharply this year, reflected in the collapse of their share prices, and the window of opportunity for another round of publicly funded bank bailouts is closing fast. The most serious banking problem is in Italy but there are also severe problems in Portugal, continuing weakness in […]

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The rise of western populist movements explained in one graph

July 25, 2016

After the turmoil of the 1970s, when the combination of the collapse of the international system for managing exchange rates and the oil price shock of 1974 combined to produce rising unemployment and high inflation, the global economy seemed to enter a far more tranquil period. This period of relative tranquillity and reasonably steady growth […]

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The pain in Spain

July 19, 2016

  The EU has threatened Spain and Portugal Tuesday with huge fines for failing over many years years to reduce government budget deficits that exceed the limits stipulated by the eurozone treaties and regulations. This is the first time Brussels has formally announced proposals to use its disciplinary powers over member states’ budgets to fine […]

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The European Court of Justice may have rescued Italy’s banks

July 19, 2016

  Italy has been trying, with no success, to get the ECB and European banking authorities to allow it to rescue its banks with a bail out package that may be as big as €40 billion of public money. Unlike banks in most other European countries, Italy’s got sick the old fashioned way by lending […]

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The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble

July 13, 2016
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Understanding the jargon of Brexit

July 13, 2016

This chart explains the various zones, pacts and treaties aound which the Brexit negotiations will pivot. Click it to see a larger version.

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The wider implications of the Italian banking crisis

July 12, 2016

  The Italian banking system is in trouble and there are big economic and poltical implications for the eurozone. Italian banks are facing the same sort of problems that’ some American banks faced in 2008. They made a lot of loans to people who aren’t paying them back — a situation that’s been made worse […]

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Devil’s advocate

July 9, 2016

  I am going to be the devil’s advocate here. The Brexit vote has produced a paroxysm of horror amongst Remainers and has resulted in a tidal wave of news stories about how the sky is falling and we are all doomed. It is however possible to look at the immediate consequences of the pro […]

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The Italian banking crisis is escalating

July 8, 2016

  The Italian banking crisis, and the emergency political manoeuvres to avoid a financial crisis, have escalated in the last few days. There is a lot at stake. Two days ago Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Chairman of Societe Generale SA the French multinational banking and financial services company, said Italy’s banking crisis could spread to the […]

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Wynne Godley was right

July 7, 2016

In 1992 the great British economist Wynne Godley who died in 2010 (his Guardian obituary written by William Keegan is here) wrote a short article in the London Review of Books entitled “Maastricht and All That”. The article is an astonishingly prescient critique of the deep design flaws in the plans for European Monetary Union […]

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Perspectives on the Chinese economic adjustment

July 7, 2016

  What is going to happen to the Chinese economy? That’s perhaps the biggest question, and largest unknown, regarding the global economy. Some observers, such as George Soros, think that a ‘hard landing’ is going to happen. He believes that the build up of bad debt within the Chinese financial system is now so great […]

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The Japanese economy is in uncharted territory

July 4, 2016

While Brexit has taken all our attention across the globe Japan continues to stumble into uncharted territory. In many ways Japan is the pioneer for the rest of the global economy, its on the same journey just much further along. Now Japan is having to cope with an influx of hot money fleeing post Brexit […]

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Pro EU parties could face big losses in the next election

July 3, 2016

There is an interesting and detailed analysis at Buzzfeed on how the referendum votes map against parliamentary constituencies. Its worth a look with plenty of interactive maps to play with. Although the referendum result was close nationally, Remain piled up many of its votes in a relatively small number of constituencies (London and Scotland being […]

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