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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...

The fall of commodity prices can only be down to one thing: macroeconomic factors

Why are commodity prices falling?

The fall of commodity prices can only be down to one thing: macroeconomic factors

Oil prices have plummeted 40 percent since June – good news for oil-importing countries, but bad news for Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria, and other oil exporters. Some attribute the price drop to the US shale-energy boom. Others cite OPEC’s failure to ag...

It's not just Russia's economy that's dwindling; its soft power is at stake

Putin’s rules of attraction

It’s not just Russia’s economy that’s dwindling; its soft power is at stake

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s covert aggression in Ukraine continues – and so do Western sanctions against his country. But the economy is not all that is under threat; Russia’s soft power is dwindling, with potentially devastating results. A ...

As Japan steps up its quantitative easing efforts, others are following

The return of currency wars

As Japan steps up its quantitative easing efforts, others are following

The recent decision by the Bank of Japan to increase the scope of its quantitative easing is a signal that another round of currency wars may be under way. The BOJ’s effort to weaken the yen is a beggar-thy-neighbor approach that is inducing policy re...

2015 will be one of our greatest opportunities to change the world

2015: the year of sustainable development

2015 will be one of our greatest opportunities to change the world

The year 2015 will be our generation’s greatest opportunity to move the world toward sustainable development. Three high-level negotiations between July and December can reshape the global development agenda, and give an important push to vital changes ...

Fight like a butterfly: the folly of trying to predict the market

The butterfly effect and efficient market hypothesis: right for the wrong reasons

Fight like a butterfly: the folly of trying to predict the market

“Prediction,” the great physicist Niels Bohr is said to have once observed, “is very difficult. Especially when it concerns the future.” In science and economics, our lack of ability to foresee the future has traditionally been attributed to two t...

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