Archive for February, 2009

The following review by me appeared in the latest Fund Strategy (16 February). Trial by drowning was supposedly a common way of dealing with witches in medi­eval times. Suspects were thrown in a river or lake and if they drowned they were found innocent. If they floated they were presumed guilty and either hanged or […]

In response to my request for suggestions for my Austerity Watch column a friend sent me a link to a useful article from the 4 January edition of the British Observer newspaper. In it Paul Harris reported from New York on how luxury is increasingly being considered shameful. Among its useful points and references: * […]

The World Bank has conducted a study on how the economic crisis will hit the world’s poorest countries.

Lee Jones, an academic at Oxford University, has written a critical account of an academic seminar on “well-being” for Culture Wars. He shows, among other things, that the well-being agenda leads to authoritarian conclusions. For example: • “People convicted of drugs possession who do not see themselves as addicts – or who do not even […]

Austerity Watch

In: Uncategorized

10 Feb 2009

I have decided to start an occasional Austerity Watch column to monitor the trend towards increasingly open support for austerity. First, to recap my general views on the subject: * Austerity is implicit in growth scepticism. * However, only a minority of growth sceptics are currently openly demanding austerity. It tends to be more implicit. […]

The following review by me appeared in the latest Fund Strategy (9 February). Energise! A Future for Energy Innovation by James Woudhuysen and Joe Kaplinsky is published by Beautiful Books, 2009. Energise! starts from a fundamentally different premise from virtually every other book on energy or climate change. For James Woudhuysen, a professor of innovation […]

There is probably more cant written and spoken about free trade than most other subjects. Everyone proclaims support for its ideals while curtailing it in practice. Admittedly protectionism does not always, or even generally, take the traditional form of tariffs. There are numerous ways that countries and economic blocs protect their domestic economies against others, […]

Belatedly caught up with an article on the likely social impact of the recession by Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University, in last Sunday’s New York Times. Among other things he predicts: • A return to less expensive activities: “They may take the form of greater interest in free content on […]

It looks like the Financial Times is not going to publish my letter in response to its editorial on “de-fetishing GDP” and its earlier feature on the same subject (see 28 January post). For those interested my response is reproduced below. Admittedly it is a bit assertive but that is hard to avoid in such […]

Real Clear Markets has published my latest comment from Fund Strategy.