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When thinking about economic predictions in relation to quantum physics, it’s a slight concern when the latter seems easier to decipher

An uncertain forecast

When thinking about economic predictions in relation to quantum physics, it’s a slight concern when the latter seems easier to decipher

The physicist Niels Bohr is attributed with the saying that “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” Indeed, it may be that when it comes to the economy, forecasting is even harder than Bohr’s specialty of quantum mechanics. E...

Austerity has become a toxic word across Europe, and while the stats in Spain indicate that the country has benefited from such measures, looks can be deceptive

The pain in Spain

Austerity has become a toxic word across Europe, and while the stats in Spain indicate that the country has benefited from such measures, looks can be deceptive

Spain is the eurozone’s latest poster child for austerity and structural reforms. Its economy has expanded for eight consecutive quarters, steadily gaining momentum and easily outperforming the rest of the currency union. Export growth has matched that ...

Making student loans more affordable could be detrimental to the economy

America’s education bubble

Making student loans more affordable could be detrimental to the economy

One of the fundamental purposes of government is to advance important public goods. But, if not handled carefully, the pursuit of significant social goals can have unfortunate economic and financial consequences, sometimes even leading to systemic disrupt...

Regulations are needed to prevent would-be crowdfunding investors from being swindled

Finding a reliable source

Regulations are needed to prevent would-be crowdfunding investors from being swindled

If one were seeking a perfect example of why it’s so hard to make financial markets work well, one would not have to look further than the difficulties and controversies surrounding crowdfunding in the US. After deliberating for more than three years, t...

Corrupt policies mean that interpreting a nation's financial standing can be a minefield

When financial markets misread politics

Corrupt policies mean that interpreting a nation’s financial standing can be a minefield

When Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) defied pundits and pollsters by regaining a parliamentary majority in the country’s general election on November 1, financial markets cheered. The next day, the Istanbul stock exchange rose by more tha...

Our intervention in poor countries is stopping their governments improving

Helping poor countries could be crushing them in the long-run

Our intervention in poor countries is stopping their governments improving

In Scotland, I was brought up to think of policemen as allies and to ask one for help when I needed it. Imagine my surprise when, as a 19-year-old on my first visit to the US, I was met by a stream of obscenities from a New York City cop who was directing...

The fall of the BRICS shows that the US is still indispensible to the world economy

The BRICS fallacy

The fall of the BRICS shows that the US is still indispensible to the world economy

The recent downgrade of Brazil’s credit rating to junk status was followed by a raft of articles heralding the crumbling of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). How predictable: schadenfreude almost always follows bad news about t...

The chopping and changing of Australia's government makes it look like a pantomime

Australia’s revolving door of politicians is an embarrassment

The chopping and changing of Australia’s government makes it look like a pantomime

Australia has a new prime minister – its fifth in just eight years. No Australian prime minister has served a full electoral term since 2007, and we have had four incumbents in the last 27 months alone. In June 2013, Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard w...

Canada proves that state intervention in real estate is not necessarily a bad thing

Owning the market

Canada proves that state intervention in real estate is not necessarily a bad thing

What happens when governments own markets? When prices are backed by the state for political reasons? Where the state does everything it can to encourage people to make highly leveraged bets on the market – and steps in to intervene whenever something g...

Nuclear fusion could work - but only if we cough up some money

Is nuclear fusion the best way to support rising energy demands?

Nuclear fusion could work – but only if we cough up some money

This December, world leaders will gather in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, where they will attempt – yet again – to hammer out a global agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Despite the inevitable sense of déjà vu th...

The IMF got it wrong when it came to Greece's government debt crisis

The IMF’s euro crisis

The IMF got it wrong when it came to Greece’s government debt crisis

The IMF’s participation in the effort to rescue the eurozone may have raised its profile and gained it favour in Europe, yet its failure, and the failure of its European shareholders, to adhere to its own best practices may eventually prove to have been...

Could profit sharing end disparity in US worker pay?

The profit-sharing economy

Could profit sharing end disparity in US worker pay?

Over the last 35 years, real wages in the US failed to keep pace with productivity gains; for the typical non-farm worker, the latter grew twice as fast as the former. Instead, an increasing share of the gains went to a tiny fraction of workers at the ver...

Economics - like art - is being slowly influenced by big money

Funding the multiverse

Economics – like art – is being slowly influenced by big money

An enduring philosophical question relates to the number of universes. In the 14th century, the French philosopher Nicolas Oresme demonstrated the theoretical possibility of multiple universes, but ultimately decided to stick with the Aristotelian princip...

Innovation is happening - companies must learn to adapt with it

The end of standard work

Innovation is happening – companies must learn to adapt with it

In 1983, the American economist and Nobel laureate Wassily Leontief made what was then a startling prediction that machines, he said, are likely to replace human labour much in the same way that the tractor replaced the horse. Today, with some 200 mill...

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...

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