Tag Archives: economics

Opinion: Small plus small plus small equals BIG

ultra-micro economicsIn the heady days of the Thatcher government, when the hideous mistakes of Big Bang were being forged and coming to fruition, I used to run an excellent magazine called Town & Country Planning.  In those days, we were extremely exercised by the idea of the huge and mounting cost of rundown private sector homes. Who was going to repair them?

We don’t talk about that problem any more. This is not because it was ever exactly solved, but because of one of the more benevolent effect of rising house prices, before the oligarchs came in, was that it made a bit of DIY worthwhile. Instead of the government shelling out to repair all those privately-owned dwellings, the young owners went down to B&Q and bought a paintbrush.

It was a lesson to me that neither the conventional public sector nor the conventional private sector may be best placed to tackle the really intractable problems.  And it makes me wonder whether the great unanswered questions about rebalancing the economy might eventually be answered – not by the long night of the soul as we wait for the Treasury, but by the places themselves.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Opinion: Bullseye banzai

In the spirit of the season, I thought I’d do my own Mid-Term Review and not keep it secret.

Back on the 14th November 2012, I wrote a piece for LDV on how Shinzo Abe, the clear favourite to become Japan’s next PM, was telling the Bank of Japan to deliver 3% growth in the money measure of GDP (NGDP) on pain of having its independence withdrawn. NGDP in Japan had been virtually static for twenty years – a sort of Great Stagnoflation.

How’s Mr Abe doing just eight weeks on? Well, he’s Prime Minister, he’s told the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 39 Comments

Opinion: The trouble with George – you can’t argue on economics with such a political Chancellor

Now that the flurry of graphs, snapshot analyses, spin-heavy briefings and counter-briefings is dying down, how to judge George Osborne’s Autumn Statement in the cold winter light?

For me it is a microcosm of Osborne’s time in No. 11 – a smattering of politically calculated and superficially populist measures, masking a dangerously thin grasp of what an economically successful Chancellorship looks like. Moreover, his claim that his mini-budget is fair because it is fiscally neutral doesn’t hold much water.

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

Opinion: Inflation the biggest threat to economic growth

Economic commentators and politicians searching for that most elusive of phenomena – economic growth appear to be operating a back to basics approach. The Bank of England takes the traditional neo-classical approach to its role as arbiter of monetary policy – Quantitative Easing and liquidity schemes to expand the money supply and make borrowing cheaper to incentivise businesses to expand. The government are taking a much more Keynesian route to growth, announcing house building schemes and other infrastructure initiatives in order that the state injects the demand into the economy …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

LibDem MEP retains influential European economic role

Darren Ennis on MHP reports good news for the UK from the European Parliament:

British Liberal Democrat Sharon Bowles is expected to keep her role as chair of the European Parliament’s influential economic and monetary affairs committee, MHP Sources Say.

Despite winning cross-party praise for her increasingly high profile role during the economic downturn, Bowles risked losing the coveted position following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU veto and the decision by her UK Liberal Democrat colleague Diana Wallis to stand in this week’s election of a new President of the European Parliament.

Wallis infuriated Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt by standing as an independent, putting at risk a political pact he had negotiated with the Parliament’s two largest groups – the centre-right EPP and the Socialists – designed to keep Bowles as head of the Parliament’s most important committee.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 11 Comments

Opinion: Frankensteinomics

Why are Western politicians failing to tackle the debt crisis? Partly, because they do not know why things got this way. So they do not really know what to do. We need better understanding.

At the risk of sounding like an airport paperback I offer – Frankensteinomics! The global economy, I contend, is like Frankenstein’s monster – bloated, dysfunctional, and kept alive only by repeated jolts of artificial stimulation.

The mad scientist who first showed how to apply the electrodes was Maynard Keynes. Using State spending to jolt the economy out of depression …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

Opinion: We don’t need Labour’s Plan B – we need a Lib Dem Plan C

Senior economists have expressed alarm at the Coalition Government’s economic strategy – coinciding with the publication of gloomy figures, criticism came from sources as varied as the likes of David Blanchflower, to Sunday’s warning over the direction of travel from a wide array of experts in the Observer. As we ponder the need for alternatives to the Coalition’s policies, a Plan B, let’s recap how Plan A came about.

The Conservative party have always equated this crisis with the government’s budget deficit. Their economic narrative, unchanged since well before the election, has been clear; public profligacy under Labour …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 23 Comments

Rejoice, rejoice, we have the answer to stock market problems: buy in some windbreaks

The following quote is a genuine quote from an academic journal. Oh yes.

Why have I thought necessary to mention that?

Well, it’s about the stock market.

And how windy the weather is.

And how stocks go up or down depending on how windy it is.

Not just the stocks of windbreak or heating/cooling firms.

All stocks.

Yes indeed:

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Conservative policy making informed by TV detective series

Today’s FT has an interview with wannabe Chancellor George Osborne, where he once again fails to give any real details of the Conservatives’ economic plans, should they win the next election. Osborne talks about his admiration for Sweden, although he is unable to put his finger on exactly why, saying:

“I’m no expert on Swedish society but I am a regular viewer now of Wallander”.

What next: Chris Grayling telling the Daily Mail that he is changing the Conservatives’ policies on drugs after catching up with a few episodes of Van der Valk?

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 7 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohnTilley 25th Oct - 10:54am
    Paul in Wokingham It will not come as a shock to you that I agree. “…….This isn’t a failure of the political left. It’s a...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 25th Oct - 10:53am
    Paul in Wokingham It will not come as a shock to you that I agree. ".......This isn’t a failure of the political left. It’s a...
  • User AvatarNick Collins 25th Oct - 10:43am
    I agree, Matthew Huntbach. Protesting is obviously a waste of time; it's clearly much more effective to spend one's time writing long essays and posting...
  • User AvatarTsar Nicolas 25th Oct - 10:42am
    I think the Left is failing because it has no coherent alternative programme to put up against the globalised neo-liberal economic policies we are suffering...
  • User AvatarJock Coats 25th Oct - 10:38am
    A little disappointed about welfare. I'd have thought more would appreciate that since economic circumstances vary so much from region to region, there ought to...
  • User AvatarTsar Nicolas 25th Oct - 10:36am
    @Paul in Wokingham "Don’t blame the electorate. Blame the parties for creating at least the appearance – and probably the fact – of an oligarchy."...