We didn’t buy pandemic insurance and can’t forever pretend that we did

Several aeons have passed since I began thinking about covid-19 bailouts (IFG pamphlet out shortly, watch this space), and still I struggle to get my thoughts straight.  During that time, the blogosphere and in particular VoxEU have drenched us in high-speed, quality thought, even as the facts on the ground have shifted at speed.  JustContinue reading “We didn’t buy pandemic insurance and can’t forever pretend that we did”

When did the Great Recession start?

If you put this question to most economists at the tail end of 2008, they would have said “around the time Lehman Brothers collapsed”. The last Inflation Report of the year showed things flat in Q2, and then that first bad quarter in 15 years in 2008Q3.  However, the latest data from the ONS suggests it got far worseContinue reading “When did the Great Recession start?”

A hangover without a party pt1

One of my constant gripes with economic debate is how it gets reframed in moralistic terms.  All parties tend to be guilty of this. For the Left, it was about some sin at the heart of capitalism, about the wicked behaviour of certain bosses and bankers.  For the right, we all just consumed too much,Continue reading “A hangover without a party pt1”

Defending the Bank of England

It is looking pretty dicey for the Bank and it’s inflation-fighting reputation.  Read Jeremy Warner (Does the inflation target actually mean anything any more?) and above all the point made clear in Simon Ward’s post yesterday (UK CPI inflation 3 percentage points above BoE year-ago forecast).  Here is a graph from last year’s May InflationContinue reading “Defending the Bank of England”

I won’t deny it: the inflation figures suck

Here is the BBC story; here is where you can get the data. The BBC mentions volcanic ash driving up Food prices. But as far as I can see, the things that rose hardest from March to April were not particularly vulnerable to delayed flights: (correct me if I am wrong: I did that graphContinue reading “I won’t deny it: the inflation figures suck

Crazy spending, or our lifeline?

To no great surprise, David Cameron has announced an immediate audit of the ‘crazy’ spending of Labour’s last years in power.  Politically, this no doubt makes great sense – “look what those idiots got up to” is perfect scene-setting for the blood-letting that will follow.  But what worries me is what sort of a narrativeContinue reading “Crazy spending, or our lifeline?”

Some stuff to add learning and entertainment to a sunny weekend

Sorry, I am in a sunny mood. Martin Wolf is also infected with the sun, because he comes out with a surprisingly generous verdict on The economic legacy of Mr Brown. The general theme is that his mistakes were shared by most of the economic policymaking world, and Wolf makes this telling point: “In retrospect,Continue reading “Some stuff to add learning and entertainment to a sunny weekend”

‘Labour’s electoral strategy’ – and a call for Empiricism

Given that the next election is possibly 5 years away, am I the only one to find arguments about Labour’s election strategy just a little premature?  I keep trying to remember what such discussions must have been like for the Lib Dems in 2005, and then find I can’t.  Because five years is such aContinue reading “‘Labour’s electoral strategy’ – and a call for Empiricism”

Now is not a time for uber-German monetary policy

The FT reports on the ECB’s seeming conversion to QE: Backlash stirs in Frankfurt. “Germans are clear about the job of a central banker: to fight inflation, and nothing else … The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described the turnaround – announced at 3:15am on Monday after a late-night meeting of European finance ministers – asContinue reading “Now is not a time for uber-German monetary policy”

Some spiffing quotes, what

Gosh, I’m beginning to sound like a Tory already!  help From Megan McArdle of the Atlantic – a wise and self-doubting piece about, well, Greece and intellectual triumphalism.  Could apply this to the whole Credit Crunch analysis: You cannot graft rich-world policy onto emerging markets … Conservative fiscal and monetary policy… -emerges from the socialContinue reading “Some spiffing quotes, what”