Europe has suffered from the euro – just ask the Greeks

One of the entertainments of the holiday period was reading Adults In The Room, the book by Yanis Varoufakis. It describes his time as finance minister of Greece, and his negotiations with the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission. Varoufakis was only in the job between January and July 2015. He had the […]

No wonder free trade is under threat: we’re just rediscovering its losers

It had been an article of faith among economists and policy-makers that free trade is a Good Thing. Trade liberalisation was a key feature of the world economic order enforced by the United States after the Second World War. For decades, the trend of removing trade barriers led to world trade growing around twice as rapidly as […]

Brexit was the final straw: it’s time to scrap the IMF

Sports fans will all be familiar with the commentator who almost always gets things wrong. “Arsenal are very much on top here” he – it is invariably a “he” – will pronounce, or “Root is looking very settled”, only for the opposition to score a goal immediately and for the Yorkshireman to be clean bowled. […]

The poor state of macro justifies scepticism with Brexit disaster forecasts

David Cameron has tried to frame the Brexit debate into one based on economics.  Standing with him is the overwhelming consensus of economists themselves, from academics to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  Their pronouncements are not having that much impact on the electorate if the polls are to be believed. There is justification for this […]

The IMF is in trouble – and not just due to its poor forecasts

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has played a prominent role in world financial affairs in the post-Second World War period. In the 1950s and 1960s, its main purpose was to support the system of fixed exchange rates. Since then its activities have evolved to embrace developing economies and both banking and sovereign debt crises. The […]

Are the markets telling the truth?

The opening month of 2016 has been marked by sharp falls in asset prices, not just in financial markets but in commodities such as oil.  The conventional wisdom is that the markets form a rational assessment of future prospects for the economy, and set prices accordingly.  So if prices fall, we should be downgrading our […]

FIFA, corruption and economic growth

The FIFA arrests have dominated both front and sports pages. We must await the outcomes of the trials before pronouncing on individuals.  But amongst soccer fans, the organisation is a byword for sleaze and corruption. England spent £21 million on the campaign to secure the 2018 World Cup. The height of our attempts to influence […]

Can Game Theory Help the Greeks?

Game theory is a big topic in academic economics. It is scarcely possible to graduate from a good university without exposure to its abstruse logic. So perhaps the Greek government, replete with economists, is using game theory to plan its tactics. Or is Chancellor Merkel herself being briefed with calculations carried out deep in a […]

Psychology, not hard line maths, tells us why Osborne’s strategy is working

So, International Monetary Fund, wrong again! At the end of last week, the IMF abandoned its criticism of the UK government’s economic strategy. Christine Lagarde, the IMF chief, said her organisation had ‘underestimated’ the strength of the recovery in Britain. The IMF now believes that the UK will be the fastest growing of any major […]

New ideas are needed in economics, but not the tired old statist ones

The annual Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) conference was held in Toronto earlier this month. INET was created by George Soros in the autumn of 2009 in response to the economic crisis. Mainstream economics bears a heavy responsibility for creating the intellectual climate prior to the crash that the problems of boom and bust […]