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Germany must stop squabbling with Google and other American internet platforms

Germany vs. Google

Germany must stop squabbling with Google and other American internet platforms

American tech companies are under unprecedented attack by EU regulators. The European Commission has charged Google with abusing its near-monopoly over internet search in the EU to favour its own shopping services. It has also opened a probe of Google’s...

Does economic experimentation spell disaster?

Economic policy turned inside out

Does economic experimentation spell disaster?

The world economy is in the grips of a dangerous delusion. As the great boom that began in the 1990s gave way to an even greater bust, policymakers resorted to the timeworn tricks of financial engineering in an effort to recapture the magic. In doing so, ...

The US' intellectual property laws hinder negotiation between Asia-Pacific countries

Cracking the US copyright code

The US’ intellectual property laws hinder negotiation between Asia-Pacific countries

With the IMF having just cut its forecasts for economic growth in Latin America for the fifth year in a row, the region’s countries are casting about for ways to reignite investment and boost productivity. They should look to fast-growing Asia, argue ad...

Improved trade relations with Asia are what America needs too boost income

Revising international trade agreements

Improved trade relations with Asia are what America needs too boost income

Trade is high on the agenda in the US, Europe, and much of Asia this year. In the US, where concern has been heightened by weak recent trade numbers, President Barack Obama is pushing for Congress to give him Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), previously kn...

Warring economists are stuffing up the discipline's scientific credibility

Economics’ big bipolar problem

Warring economists are stuffing up the discipline’s scientific credibility

Readers of this column, no doubt concerned for my wellbeing, have occasionally asked how my book Economyths – a critique of mainstream economics from the point of view of an applied mathematician – was received by economists. The book, which also s...

Dire railway infrastructure is costing India's economy billions

India’s railways need work. Fast

Dire railway infrastructure is costing India’s economy billions

Every February, the Indian Parliament performs a curious and unique ritual. The railway minister (a portfolio that exists in few democracies nowadays) presents the ‘railway budget’ to the lower house for its approval. A packed chamber hangs on the...

Risky or reformed? Why the public still may not know the truth about large banks

Battling with the too-big-to-fail banks

Risky or reformed? Why the public still may not know the truth about large banks

Headlines about banks’ risks to the financial system continue to dominate the financial news. Bank of America performed poorly on the US Federal Reserve’s financial stress tests, and regulators criticised Goldman Sachs’ and JPMorgan Chase’s fi...

Injecting cash into the economy might not be Europe’s answer

The deflation/inflation balancing act

Injecting cash into the economy might not be Europe’s answer

In 1923, John Maynard Keynes addressed a fundamental economic question that remains valid today. “Inflation is unjust and deflation is inexpedient”, he wrote. “Of the two perhaps deflation is… the worse; because it is worse… to provoke unemp...

A useful parallel can be drawn between physics and finance in everyday life

Quantum money

A useful parallel can be drawn between physics and finance in everyday life

It is often said that quantum physics is so weird that it is beyond our understanding. According to the great physicist Richard Feynman, “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.” John von Neumann said t...

Separating fact from fiction: is the US losing its military power?

American hegemony or American primacy?

Separating fact from fiction: is the US losing its military power?

No country in modern history has possessed as much global military power as the US. Yet some analysts now argue that the US is following in the footsteps of the UK, the last global hegemon to decline. This historical analogy, though increasingly popul...

Quantitative easing: is it too little too late for Draghi?

Are the pessimists right to call QE a ‘deflationary vortex’?

Quantitative easing: is it too little too late for Draghi?

The European Central Bank (ECB) has finally launched a policy of quantitative easing (QE). The key question at this stage is whether Germany will give the ECB the freedom of manoeuvre needed to carry out this monetary expansion with sufficient boldness. T...

Multiple objectives should be pursued to avoid half-baked results

Minimal financial reforms can lead to poor economic performance

Multiple objectives should be pursued to avoid half-baked results

At a time of lacklustre economic growth, countries around the world are attempting to devise and implement strategies to spur and sustain recovery. The key word is strategy: to succeed, policymakers must ensure that measures to open the economy, boost pub...

The outcome of the global economy is far from certain

What are we betting on?

The outcome of the global economy is far from certain

When I consider the prospects for the global economy and markets, I am taken aback by the extent to which the world has collectively placed a huge bet on three fundamental outcomes: a shift toward materially higher and more inclusive global growth, the av...

Technological innovation: good for the economy, unsettling for mankind

Rise of the machines

Technological innovation: good for the economy, unsettling for mankind

A spectre is haunting the world economy – the spectre of job-killing technology. How this challenge is met will determine the fate of the world’s market economies and democratic polities, in much the same way that Europe’s response to the rise of th...

Money shapes our lives, yet we rarely reflect on where it came from

What exactly is money?

Money shapes our lives, yet we rarely reflect on where it came from

According to the authors Lipsey and Ragan of Canadian textbook Economics, money emerged as a replacement for barter: “If there were no money, goods would have to be exchanged by barter… The major difficulty with barter is that each transaction require...

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