Chinese over-investment: Metro building

May 23, 2017

In previous post (see ‘Thinking about China‘ and ‘What is happening in China?‘) I explored how the Chinese growth model was coming to an end. Like previous ‘miracle growth’ episodes the Chinese model was based on the suppression of internal consumption and the use of external demand for exports, and above all very, very high […]

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A snapshot of global economic imbalances

May 21, 2017

  The great financial crisis of 2008 had many causes, and a very important one was the great imbalances in global trade that had developed over the preceding years. Those imbalances have not been significantly reduced and in some case they have grown worse. The result is that debt levels are rising and in some […]

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Macron’s victory in charts

May 8, 2017

I found these charts at the FT (full article here). I find it interesting that the FT thinks the final chart is an indicator of psychological state rather than an indicator of material well being. Macron can only deliver if Germany plays ball – the future of French politics now hinges on the German election.

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The UK local authority property bubble

April 30, 2017

Something odd and a bit worrying is happening in local government in the UK, and I don’t mean the huge cuts in central government funding. All across the UK local authorities are moving into large scale property development as a way to generate income to compensate for lost government funding. This could be a deeply […]

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Europe’s other single currency

April 24, 2017

There is another European single currency, other than the Euro, but it is not widely known about in Europe because it is used in Africa. France has long been committed to maintaining a zone of interest in Africa based on its old colonial possessions. One of the mechanisms it uses to maintain ‘dependency’ amongst its […]

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The French first round

April 24, 2017

Just over 40% of the French electorate voted for a candidate that wanted to leave the Euro. Macron will almost certainly win the second round but then the sparkling young new president will have to confront France’s deep divisions, try to do something about France’s dire economic position while constrained by the straight jacket of […]

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Meanwhile in Greece the beatings continue but moral fails to improve

April 19, 2017

While all eyes are on Brexit and the various critical elections looming in the EU the the tragic and cruel farce continues in Greece. The publication of the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) on Tuesday revealed worse estimates for the Greek economy compared to the upbeat set of forecasts included in its previous […]

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Accession shock, the rise of UKIP and Brexit

April 14, 2017

Researchers Sascha Becker and Thiemo Fetzer, are presenting an interesting paper at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference at the University of Bristol in April 2017 entitled “Does Migration Cause Extreme Voting?” The paper makes a persuasive case for the argument that it was the special social shock of the post accession low skilled migration […]

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The German and Chinese trade surpluses

April 5, 2017

As a follow up piece to my posting about the dangerously delusional views of Mr Dijsselbloem I would like to point readers to a recent article by Michael Pettis who is one of my favourite economists. Pettis is a professor of finance at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in Beijing who has […]

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“The left is paying the price for its conservative discourse on the currency union.”

April 4, 2017

Costas Lapavitsas who is an economics professor at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, visited Barcelona last week to present his latest work, ‘Eurozone Failure, German Policies and a New Path for Greece’. In this text he advocates Greece leaving the euro, as an instrument for overcoming the country’s crisis. Critical of Alexis Tsipras, […]

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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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