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Economy

More storm clouds in the North Sea

North Sea storm clouds

There was more bad news for George – “I forgot to mend the roof when the sun was shining” – Osborne today as North Sea tax receipts plummeted. North Sea oil and gas have been the backbone of the UK economy for the last three decades.  But production peaked in …

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Is it time to drop GDP?

GDP

The age-old belief that economic growth – as measured by Gross Domestic Product – is the answer to our social ills is becoming untenable. The pursuit of GDP growth on a global scale led to the massive financial crash of 2008; the growing crisis in the energy sector; and a …

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MPs warn about the limits to growth

APPG-Logo-website

In 1969, the Club of Rome commissioned a group of scientists from a range of disciplines to generate a computer model of what would happen to humanity if we continued with business as usual.  The result was the publication of The Limits to Growth in 1972.  It’s conclusions made for …

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Europe should leave TBTF banks to their fate

Bank

Government responses to the crisis of 2008 and its continuing fallout have left Europe with too many bloated and inefficient ‘too big to fail’ banks according to UBS boss Axel Weber in an interview for Business Insider: “Europe is over-banked so you would expect to see the demise of some weak …

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A new approach to plastics

Beach plastic

By applying circular economy principles to global plastic packaging, we could transform the plastics economy and drastically reduce pollution, according to the latest report by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Commenting on the report, Martin Stuchtey from McKinsey Center for Business and Environment explains: “Plastics are the …

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A Banquet of Consequences: the cost of war threatens us all

Refugees

The so-called “peace dividend” following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 was often more spin than reality according to author and former banker Satyajit Das.  Nevertheless, the global economy did benefit: “First, defence spending declined, freeing up resources for other expenditure… Second, scientific and mathematical resources previously employed …

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US banking sector faces a miserable 2016

Arrow

Following the worst first quarter since 2007, Olivia Oran at Reuters reports an anticipated slump in US banking in 2016: “Concerns about economic growth in China, the impact of persistently low oil prices on the energy sector, and near-zero interest rates are weighing on capital markets activity as well as …

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Janet Yellen’s six month tightrope walk

Tightrope

The Federal Reserve’s moderation in monetary tightening is crucial to sustaining fragile global economic growth in 2016 according to a panel of financial experts at the opening session of the Credit Suisse AIT conference in Hong Kong: “The US economy is improving, but not enough to withstand monetary tightening beyond …

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Economists still clueless over low oil prices

Economics fail

Chris Giles at the Financial Times is the latest commentator to give voice to the question most economists simply cannot answer: ‘how come low oil prices failed to stimulate growth’: “None of this was supposed to happen. Economists had predicted with great confidence two effects from cheap oil. There would …

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