Archive for the General Category

Why cricket is like spam

The holiday season gets into full swing, but a shadow has been cast by the abysmal failure of our boys to get anywhere near the enormous target of 509 which Australia set them to win in the second Test match.  It may seem preposterous even to have

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Guaranteed bank deposits and the market for lemons

One aspect of the Greek crisis which will affect many readers is the reduction in the amount of cash in a bank deposit which is protected.  The Bank of England announced that the current guaranteed amount of £85,000 will be cut to £75,000 on 1 January.  This

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The Happy Band of the Self Employed 

How many workers does the typical American firm employ?   Actually, it is a trick question. The answer is ‘zero’.  More than 50 per cent of all companies in the United States are one person operations – the owner, and no-one else. This fragmentation of size is increasingly

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Can Nanny make you stop drinking?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been the butt of much ridicule over the past week.  A pill designed to reduce alcohol consumption among problem drinkers will be made available across the NHS.  But the concept of problem drinkers is so wide that

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Coping with Uncertainty: the Red Hot Topic in Economics

After months of Trappist silence, a whole plethora of large companies has pronounced on the adverse consequences for Scotland of a Yes vote tomorrow.  The sectors span the economy, from oil to banks, from supermarkets to phone companies.  But what will be the effect of these interventions?

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Scottish Independence and Fairytale Land

Sir James Mirrlees is one of the mere handful of British recipients of the Nobel Prize in economics.  As his fine old Scottish surname might suggest, he has been active in the debate on independence.  His latest intervention, which has attracted considerable publicity, is to pronounce that

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After the BRICs, the GIPSIs: Tackling Europe’s Problems

The Euro zone lurches into yet another crisis, with fears of deflation and a further drop in output.  There are several dominant explanations of why Europe has been unable to recover from the crisis.  Most commentators subscribe to them either on their own, or in various combinations,

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Wall Street no smarter than Mr and Mrs Average

Lurid stories about the excesses in the UK housing market continue to proliferate.  True, there is some evidence of a cooling, as the price rises tempt more sellers into the market and temporarily increase supply relative to demand.  But at the same time we learn in the

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The predictability of the Premier League

The Premier League kicks off again this weekend.  Given the abysmal showing of our boys in the World Cup, a falling off of interest might be expected.  But increasingly, the competition attracts many of the best players from all over the world.    A self-reinforcing process has been

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Recessions are good for the nation’s health

Many readers at this time of the year will be looking forward to their summer break, perhaps contemplating with a certain amount of envy their colleagues who have already departed.  But is leisure good for you?  A bit of a no brainer one might think.  Indeed, until

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