Vanity (un)Fair

In Thackery’s early 19th century satire, Vanity Fair, all of the characters are flawed in one way or another, but George Osborne is is without a doubt the most shallow, self-regarding and stupid of the lot. Fast forward a couple of hundred years to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. The Chancellor of the Exchequer…

Financial Reform: An Alternative Use For “Yes”?

The Scottish independence referendum was about different things to different people, but a common theme was the hope of finding better ways of doing things: ways of tackling poverty and inequality; ways of moving government closer to communities, of making democracy more responsive; ways of encouraging an economy to thrive. For many people who are…

diagram from Flip Chart Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales

I’ve been following a blog for the the last few months called Flip Chart Fairy Tales, written by a business insider called Rick. His strapline is “Business bullshit, corporate crap, and other stuff from the world of work”, and from what I’ve read so far you get exactly what’s advertised: straightforward analysis of of business…

Scottish Independence: Status Quo (Whatever You Want)

“Should Scotland be an independent country?” On the 18th of September people living in Scotland will have the opportunity at the ballot box to answer Yes or No. Since the date of the referendum was announced the onus has been on independence enthusiasts to bring forward arguments in support of their cause, and they have…

Freaking Unbelievable

Steven D. Levitt is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and co-author of a series of books that have the word “Freakonomics” in their titles. Until yesterday I had never read anything by Mr Levitt, and heartily wish that I hadn’t bothered to read this article on his blog because its stupidity…

Very encouraging to see Martin Wolf in the Financial Times talking seriously about full reserve banking. His¬†proposals for are a step in the right direction but are only part of the solution. They highlight a set of additional underlying problems that also need to be addressed. He takes no account of one of the main…

Blowing Bubbles

Yesterday The Telegraph reported on the current house price boom. The average asking price in England and Wales is more than ¬£262,500 – 7.3% higher than it was 12 months ago. For those of us who struggle with the concept of cumulative growth 7.3% doesn’t sound like a very big number but if you do…

Anyone who’s encouraged by George Osborne’s claims of having steered the UK through the stormy waters of recession into a period of growth that’s “the largest in the G7” needs to read this piece: Comparative Recovery from Flip Chart Fairy Tales. Personally I don’t think GDP is a very useful measure of economic performance but…