What is the point of GDP?20th May 2013
You can’t beat exposure to free-thinkers. My free-thinking week started with the pleasure of a speech and chat with the straight-talking Ruth Lea of Arbuthnot, and ended with the MoneyWeek Conference. But first, one of those sit bolt-upright moments, as I also bumped into an acquaintance who, in a few short words, encapsulated all that is wrong with our economic system: Soon to retire, he pointed out that after many decades of hard work (as a respected professional in the regions) he has
The Trouble with Inflation25th February 2013
My Economics tutor’s favourite saying was “Inflation is the greatest social evil”. But when we talk about inflation, what do we really mean, and what do we really understand? What is inflation? We’ve been groomed to understand that inflation is the published measure of RPI or CPI. No, this is not inflation, but rising prices. These price rises are a consequence of inflation, which properly defined is an increase in the money supply. Changes in the quantity of money in existence
The Europe of Broken Dreams, Part 4: Depressing Repression9th February 2013
Our series on Europe continues, and the news continues to heat up. Ignore the apparently great news on the politically negotiated reduction in the EU budget. Even if it happens it is a tiny pinprick in the scheme of things, and is utterly irrelevant when compared to the scale of the Eurozone’s debt challenges. Don’t get me wrong, we may ultimately need politics to solve the challenges, but politics is what created this mess, and there seems to be no understanding or desire to get a grip.
Gazing across the Channel, Europe’s finances seem to have gone reasonably quiet. Too quiet. Over the past week the Germans announced that they want all their gold bars returned safely from Paris; the IMF announced that Greek funding gaps may be wider than ever; the Spanish Prime Minister made a speech, and David Cameron cancelled a speech. But this counts for quiet in an era when we have lost count of the number of crisis meetings that each tackle the immediate symptom, but not the