Archive for December, 2008

Highlights of my appearance at the Battle of Ideas 2008 can now be viewed on the latest Worldbytes programme (see 30 October 2008 post). I appeared on a panel on “Growing pains: the pros and cons of economic dynamism” alongside, among others, Martin Wolf of the Financial Times and Ha-Joon Chang of Cambridge University.

A particularly interesting insight into the logic of growth scepticism from Philip Stephens, an associate editor of the Financial Times, in a piece in today’s newspaper entitled: “Global warming: the way not to mobilise the masses”. He first acknowledges that anti-growth sentiment of the type favoured by protestors against Stansted airport is unlikely to win […]

Yesterday I went to the launch of the International Growth Centre at the London School of Economics (LSE). The international network of scholars is a joint venture between LSE and Oxford University with funding of £42m from Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID). Superficially the tone was incredibly pro-growth. This was reflected in a DFID […]

Saturday’s FT Weekend magazine had an article by Tim Harford, a senior columnist at the Financial Times, on microfinance. The most interesting point in made was on the split in the ranks of those providing microfinance: “The commercialisation of microfinance has sparked a fierce debate between profit advocates such as Carlos Danel and Carlos Labarthe, […]

The following comment by me appeared in the latest Fund Strategy (8 December). In this upside down version of events, the fundamental problem was cheap credit fuelling extravagant purchases of houses and consumer goods. Feckless consumers and reckless lenders are the villains in this sordid morality tale. What this scenario misses is that it is […]

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – the rich nations’ club – has produced a PDF guide to sustainable development. It looks like a clear summary of one of the prevailing dogmas of our time.

I do not normally reproduce emails from public relations types but this one is so ludicrous and miserabilist (do not put up Christmas trees) that I cannot resist. It was sent to me in my capacity as a magazine editor: Hi there, I’ve got a great somewhat unusual environmentally friendly and ethical Christmas gift you […]

I was saddened but not surprised that my local Borders bookshop is cashing in this Christmas with a section promoting books related to the credit crunch. All of the books look like they have either been rebranded or recycled for the section. Among the most heavily promoted titles are Delia’s Frugal Food and Save Cash […]

The Financial Times published the third in its series of special magazines on climate change yesterday (“in association with GE”). It dealt with business after earlier issues tackled science and politics. Its most striking feature is its conventional character. Although climate change is often portrayed as a “right on” radical issue the daily business paper […]

The following comment by me appeared in the latest Fund Strategy Quarterly Review of World Markets (1 December). Governments around the world have announced measures to bolster liquidity in their financial systems and fiscal packages to boost consumption. Yet none of them seems to be getting to grips with the real problems facing their economies. […]