New article up on the FT: don’t mourn our missing tech billionaires

I have another article up in the FT.  You surely subscribe? You should.  Here it is. I could add many thoughts to this piece.  Even with the help of great sub editors it is difficult to capture every nuance. (None of what follows is in the FT piece.  Please subscribe and click …) Essentially, theContinue reading “New article up on the FT: don’t mourn our missing tech billionaires”

The real hypocrisy around the bedroom tax

A policy wonk needing to find fiscal revenues realises that there is a disconnect between citizens’ ownership or use of property, and how it is treated fiscally. In simple terms, the charge for the property doesn’t properly reflect how much of that property there is.  So he devises a top up to make the system more progressive,Continue reading “The real hypocrisy around the bedroom tax”

Ever shifting Philips curves

Reading to the end of my Samuel Brittan “Steering the Economy” paperback, I came across a wonderful chart he’d painstakingly made. A Philips curve, he was printing it at an historically crucial moment, 1970: With absolutely no apologies for the pun, Samuel Brittan was utterly ahead of the curve in 1971.  After a fascinating 400 pagesContinue reading “Ever shifting Philips curves”

Regulatory mathematics is always trumped by politics

I was only able to keep a diary of my time as SpAd in the last two and a half years.  The first eighteen months passed like a distressing satirical overdose, and flashbacks occur fitfully.  This stems from one of them. One of the key missions of the early months of Coalition was to findContinue reading “Regulatory mathematics is always trumped by politics”

On economics not being weather forecasting

In early 2008 I was the oldest intern (35) in Westminster, toiling at the Social Market Foundation.  As an experienced financial spiv and prolific economic bluffer, I was asked to present to a roomful of wonks on this thing, “the credit crunch”.* I wish I could find the slides.  But somehow I had the time toContinue reading “On economics not being weather forecasting”

Self employment and the Bank

I think the Resolution Foundation may well be where the revolution begins.  It is now clearly asking the questions that matter about this recovery, and seems to have the resources to answer them well. Personally, I think their answers will lead to the door of the Bank of England, and what it targets – theContinue reading “Self employment and the Bank”

The big Austerity Meh

Janan Ganesh has the latest in a long line of columns reminding readers how deficit reduction has been nothing like as unpopular for the Coalition as foretold.* Anyone looking at Thatcher austerity and extrapolating public sentiment from that era would be hugely surprised. And so, gradually there has grown a compelling story that bluff has been called. TheContinue reading “The big Austerity Meh”

Looking for a little contradiction

Ben Chu in the Independent has boldly gone where curiously few* economic commentators want to go right now – the piffling question of whether the government’s published public spending numbers for the next few years are insane or not.  He kindly mentions me as having “crunched the numbers” and found them to be jaw dropping. There areContinue reading “Looking for a little contradiction”

No, Ian McCafferty has not just “solved” the productivity puzzle

Chris Giles does us a favour by highlighting a very interesting speech by external MPC member Ian McCafferty on the failure of British productivity to recover as it has in  previous expansions.  But I am puzzled at what a strong conclusion Chris takes from this. The speech is mostly good.  It breaks down this productivity failureContinue reading “No, Ian McCafferty has not just “solved” the productivity puzzle”

Freethinking Economist

Economic advice. No longer special.