Author Archives: admin

Scotland

I can’t say how I’d vote “if I were a Scot”. If I were a Scot, I wouldn’t be me. But I can tell you my opinion: Yes; for independence. Better still, I can address the currency question.On the politics, George Mombiot makes the case in I’d … Continue reading

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The eurozone crisis and the Great Depression — lecture slides and audio track

Click here for the PDF of slides of my talk on the Euro-area crisis and its parallels in the Great Depression. Click here for the MP3 audio file accompanying these slides. Note: After the first couple of minutes, I do state which … Continue reading

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Finally a difference of opinion with Krugman

There’s a reason he’s been called Krugtron. Oppose him at your peril. Nevertheless, I’d personally play down the ‘financial catastrophe’ angle of failure to raise the debt ceiling. Krugman in today’s NYT: “it looks quite possible that default would create a huge … Continue reading

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The jobs problem: structural mismatch, or inadequate demand?

Is the high unemployment rate something we have to get used to? “Yes” say the ‘structuralists’ who view the problem as one of mismatch between the jobs needed by the modern economy and the skills offered by the workforce. Since … Continue reading

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Bring on the (USA) downgrade

I think Krugman essentially has it right about the apparent lack of bond-market excitement over a possible US debt repayment event (which might arise if Congress refuses to authorise a higher debt ceiling). To paraphrase him: why should the markets worry … Continue reading

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A sideways thought on de-coupling

I’m a hardcore pessimist on the euro-area — perhaps because I’ve spent too much time on the Great Depression. As the saying goes, give a person a hammer, and everything looks like a nail. But I’ll concede one thing: if de-coupling … Continue reading

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How not to do ‘forward guidance’

What is the only option for a central bank up against the ‘zero lower bound’ (i.e. the policy interest rate has been set to zero) and whose asset purchases (‘quantitative easing’) have little traction? Answer: inflation expectations. The whole point … Continue reading

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Secondary school historiography

I want to know how the secondary school students in your area are taught history — specifically the Great Depression. The form to capture your feedback is located at http://tinyurl.com/nzsz6sn. Alternatively, you can simply email me photographs of the relevant pages of … Continue reading

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Why don’t sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) invest in education?

Serious question. Why don’t sovereign wealth funds (SWFs, the managers of a nation’s commodity windfall, usually) invest in other people’s education? Note that I am specifying other people’s education. I don’t mean this to imply that education levels in the SWF nations … Continue reading

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Positioning for the risk-on

Will the Fed really be able to carry through with its pledge to begin “tapering” QE from this autumn? Almost certainly not. This means that the higher yields being paid on US debt represent a buying opportunity. It also means that … Continue reading

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