The False Economist

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reading for the Weekend

There has been some really interesting articles this week (most from the FT but never mind):
  •  Wolfgang Munchau thinks Merkel is living in a parallel universe.
  • Colm McCarthy and Martin Wolf have both given great overviews on Ireland and what needs to be done with it's insurmountable debt.
  • Crazy old  Axel Weber left the Bundesbank thus taking his hat out of the ECB ring and his name off the Merkels' Christmas card list. He then wrote an article opposing any plans to allow the European Stability Mechanism to purchase bonds and calling for the Stability and Growth Pact to be strengthened. Reinforcing the stereotype that most Germans think that all economic crises can be prevented by fiscal discipline alone.
  • John Plender on the Credit Bubble's Comeback
  • Roubini and Bremmer tell us that our G20 world has become G-Zero.
So, as you while away the hours this weekend, waiting to see who gets the position of being told what to do by the IMF and the Commission, and wondering which member of Vampire Weekend does Dylan Haskins look like, check out some of these articles, they give a flavour of the interesting times we live in.....

NOTE: For any of the FT articles, follow the link, you'll hit a paywall but the title of the article will appear above your address bar, just google the title of the article and click on the first link you come across and you'll be past the paywall.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Finance 101

Former UK Chancellor, Alistair Darling, has a short piece in Prospect Magazine (in addition to an interview with Prospect's editor) highlighting the lack of "financial literacy" in society. He calls for the basic concepts of finance to be taught at secondary level and for older people to have the opportunity to learn about the basic concepts of finance as well.

Furthermore, he notes that this is not just a problem for laypeople, senior board members of banks and other financial institutions appeared to be in the dark at times over the financial instruments they used and the strategies they followed. This is a defining feature in what caused the global financial crisis; the over-reliance on complex instruments and models by those who rarely, if ever, understood them.

Darling makes several good points, especially about the need for more clarity in the language used regarding finance. However, I would love to see him in the future expand on these issues. As a former Chancellor he would have a unique insight in to just how out of touch some of these people were and how relevant this was to the global financial crisis.

Article (including interview) available here

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dismal Scientists

The Economist asked some economists who they thought were the most important economists in the world today. Economist.

I'm ashamed to say I didn't know several of the names mentioned. I blame their PR guys rather than my academic skills...

Check it out here.

Tackling Future Food Crises in 8 Simple Steps

Olivier de Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, wrote this great piece on steps G20 nations should take to break the cycle of shocks to the world-supply of food. Its a response to the measures suggested by the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick

Read it here at the brilliant Project Syndicate blog