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Economy

Broadbent buries bad news

Victorian poverty

In an interview with the Telegraph, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England Ben Broadbent used the term “climacteric” to describe the trajectory of the British economy.  Unfortunately, while the term has a particular meaning to economists, it has a colloquial meaning that might be taken to stray into the …

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UK economic collapse gathers pace

What do polar atmospheric conditions, a Christian religious festival and the internet have in common?  Answer: they’re all excuses made by the mainstream media to pretend that the British economy is prospering.  The Beast from the East – the result of a collapsing polar vortex that pushed freezing air south …

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What do bankers know about Brexit?

Bankers Brexit

Britain will be leaving the European Union in just ten months’ time.  In the event that the UK government cannot reach a deal with the remaining EU members, Britain’s exit could be abrupt, since “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”  That means no transitional period, no customs union, no …

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Bullshit jobs: late complexity in action

Bullshit jobs

Anthropologist David Graeber is hardly the first person to notice that a lot of the jobs that have been created in the past couple of decades are largely meaningless: “Everyone is familiar with the sort of jobs that don’t seem, to the outsider, really to do much of anything: HR …

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TSB Fiasco: a parable for our time

TSB fiasco

The late Douglas Adams told a story about (among other things) the origins of life on our planet.  In the tale, life was kick-started when an alien spaceship that had stopped for repairs exploded on take-off.  The reason the ship exploded was all too human.  The Captain sent a drone …

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Time to rethink monetary policy

Monetary Policy Committee

When the first stuffed platypus was presented to European scientists, they dismissed it.  “What we have here,” they opined, “is some unfortunate lutrinae onto which some scoundrel has attached various anatidae parts.”  And so the innocent little platypus, which had been minding its own business until the European explorers arrived, …

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Getting their retaliation in first

Titanic-lifeboat

Only an economist could think that the problem facing the passengers on the Titanic was that too few of them had learned marine engineering – if only a few of them had learned to fix the hull plates that had been torn apart by a passing iceberg, they might have gone …

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Testing Goldilocks from two sides

Flying too close to the sun

The children’s story of Goldilocks famously gave astronomy the “Goldilocks Zone” – the band around a star where it is not too hot and not too cold for water to exist in liquid form.  More recently, the idea of a Goldilocks Zone has been introduced to the economics of oil.  …

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The fourth industrial revolution is cancelled

Recession desk

Earlier today, mainstream journalists were trumpeting the dawn of a new age of prosperity.  For the first time in three years, wages had, they forecast, risen faster than inflation.  It wasn’t to be, alas.  While inflation had fallen to 2.9% wages had only risen by 2.8%; leaving Britain’s workforce that …

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Recession guaranteed

Recession

Not only is Theresa May’s magic money tree real, but it just produced a really bad harvest.  To understand why, we need to understand what makes modern currency valuable. It used to be that coins actually contained precious metals.  Then, when banknotes first appeared, they could be exchanged for precious …

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