Archive for the Blog Category

‘No ifs, No buts’ … no decisions on airport expansion

Prior to the 2010 general election, David Cameron clearly stated his position on London airport expansion: ‘no ifs, no buts’ there would be no expansion of Heathrow. Now, more than half a decade later, the only decision that has been made has been to delay the decision

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Valuing the Future. Why Climate Change Agreement is Hard

The two week long Paris conference on climate change seems to drag on interminably.  There are obviously many reasons why such summits find it difficult to reach meaningful agreements.  But a fundamental one is that the electorates of the West are being asked to bear substantial costs

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Black Friday, Games and the Stock Market

Black Friday has come and gone.  The massive surge into the shops which was anticipated in much of the media failed to materialise.  Many retail outlets were quieter than a normal Friday.  In contrast, internet shopping went wild.  Amazon had its biggest ever day in the UK,

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It is not just the Euro. Southern Europe faces a major structural crisis

Major shocks to social and economic systems ruthlessly expose weaknesses which can be contained in more normal times.  When the price of oil quadrupled in 1973/74, the different levels of resilience in the labour markets of Western Europe were quickly revealed.  Inflation initially rose sharply everywhere.  By

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Could Ernie replace Andy? The Bank’s take on automation

The Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, has been in the news with his predictions that up to 15 million jobs in the UK are at risk of being lost to automation. This is a huge number, around half the total number of people

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Groucho Marx and Property Bubbles

The commercial property market in London has been booming for several years.  The Bank of England is concerned about yet another property bubble building up.  The executive director for financial stability, strategy and risk at the Bank, Alex Brazier, warned in a speech last month that positive

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Do markets solve the problem of discrimination?

The Prime Minister recently announced that the civil service will now introduce name-blind recruitment.  When people apply for public sector jobs, their name will not appear on the documents sent to the appointment panel.  Major companies such as HSBC, KPMG, the BBC and the NHS are following

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Why a sugar tax would be a big fat failure: People are too smart for central planners

Government ministers have bowed to pressure. They have published the report by Public Health England (PHE) which calls for a tax of up to 20 per cent on sugary drinks and foods.  If the tax reduced sugar intake in line with the recommendations, it is claimed that

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Technological breakthroughs will make fossil fuels unburnable – not bureaucrats

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, courted the wrath of the fossil fuel industry in a speech at the end of last month.  He argued that investors in the sector face ‘potentially huge losses’.  Actions by governments to try to head off climate change

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Integration won’t save the struggling Eurozone

Olivier Blanchard, the recently retired Head of Economics at the International Monetary Fund, has something of a track record with his predictions.  In 2013, he warned George Osborne that he was “playing with fire” with the UK’s recovery from the financial crisis.  Austerity had to be relaxed.

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