Burnley and Asda are unlikely warnings of debt-driven troubles

It has been a week of mixed messages. Not just on the release from lockdown, but on the economy. The Bank of England indicated that banks have been given six months to prepare for negative interest rates. The Monetary Policy Committee was quick to clarify that this did not mean that they would necessarily cut […]

Get the Bank of England focused on the real economy

Bank of England

Economic policy is returning to its usual position of prominence. Fears of a major rise in unemployment are starting to worry the government more than fears around Covid-19. The chancellor’s imaginative schemes concerning furlough and other measures to protect jobs create potential problems elsewhere. So much money is being borrowed that the ratio of public […]

The unions stand on the precipice

Len McCluskey

Len McCluskey, the leader of the trade union Unite, probably did as much as anybody to ensure Boris Johnson’s massive electoral victory last December. A fervent supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, his grip on the Labour Party machine compelled Labour to fight the election with its most unpopular and inept leader in history. McCluskey is up […]

Looking out for the next financial crisis? Keep an eye on spiralling debt

Spiral Staircase

Concerns are growing that another financial crisis is imminent. No less important a figure than Kenneth Rogoff wrote last week that “the next major financial crisis may come sooner than you think”. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the IMF, shot to fame with his 2008 book This Time Is Different, co-authored with his Harvard […]

Brexit was the final straw: it’s time to scrap the IMF

Sports fans will all be familiar with the commentator who almost always gets things wrong. “Arsenal are very much on top here” he – it is invariably a “he” – will pronounce, or “Root is looking very settled”, only for the opposition to score a goal immediately and for the Yorkshireman to be clean bowled. […]

The coming explosion in natural debt is a serious risk to the economy

Martin Feldstein of Harvard is an economist who should always be taken seriously. Writing in 1997 about the forthcoming introduction of the euro, for example, he argued that “the adverse economic effects of a single currency on unemployment would outweigh any potential gains from trade flows”. He went on to predict that the euro was […]

The IMF is in trouble – and not just due to its poor forecasts

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has played a prominent role in world financial affairs in the post-Second World War period. In the 1950s and 1960s, its main purpose was to support the system of fixed exchange rates. Since then its activities have evolved to embrace developing economies and both banking and sovereign debt crises. The […]