Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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Paris update from the Economist, 25-July-1931

On French bargaining power with Germany over concessional loans to keep Germany in the euro area gold standard:“The strength of the French situation, it is universally recognised here, is that France possesses an abundance of capital available with which to … Continue reading

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The fruit of wrong-headed policy

Namely, unnecessary austerity. Contractionary policy is contractionary. Who knew? 

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Bitcoin

A version of this post was published in the Zintro Blog for 6-May-2013.Most of the commentary on Bitcoin centres on its in-built scarcity, which is meant to ensure its value rather like the inelastic supply of gold was meant to … Continue reading

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Temin (1993) on the Great Depression’s “Lessons for the present”

The transmission of the Great Depression provides the following lessons for the present. It is best to avoid macroeconomic shocks. But when they hit, then the second-best alternative is to suspend or discard the fixed exchange rates that linked economies … Continue reading

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