The 2014 BIS Annual Report warns again about the perils of ultra-easy monetary policy as it did in the lead-up to the Great Financial Crisis. I think the BIS could prove a Cassandra here and will explain below. Nevertheless, many refuse to heed its warnings because of the concern with the sluggishness of the real economy in developed economies and the worry about becoming the next Japan. The problem, as the BIS states, is debt. But the answer is not restrictive policy and structural reform as the BIS argues. Rather it is an acceptance of fiscal policy outcomes as mostly endogenous.
I knew Charles Keating, the head of Lincoln Savings, in my capacity as a financial regulator and as the subject of his wrath. His fraud schemes and the manner in which they targeted our system’s vulnerabilities in an era before Citizens United made the corruption of politicians by fraudulent CEOs child’s play remain the play book for the world’s most destructive financial frauds. Our failure to learn the ten lessons has caused immense suffering. Keating’s life, and the great harm he caused, will not have been in vain if we step back and use the occasion of his death to reflect on the changes we need to make.
Japan has just decided that Bitcoin is not a currency, which subjects it to sales and income taxes. This is consistent with the view of the Canadian Revenue Service, which has found Bitcoin to be property and not a legal currency, and the United Kingdom, which leaning towards treating Bitcoin as a voucher and subject to VAT.
Unless serious action is taken, Europe in particular (but the U.S. is not far behind) is at risk of falling into a very deep hole from which it may be extraordinarily difficult to dig itself out of. Once in, it will prove ever so hard to get out again. That is one of the key lessons learned from Argentina, even if the nature of Europe’s problems is different from those of Argentina.
By Win Thin A little history lesson about Ukraine and Crimea may help put recent developments into better perspective. What emerges is a very clear understanding of why both Russia and Ukraine feel that they each have historical precedent to support their positions: Russia believes Ukraine is part of Russia, while Ukraine (or at least parts of Ukraine) believes it […]
By Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, Amir Kermani, James Kwak, Todd Mitton This post was originally published at Vox. Political connections affect economic outcomes in emerging markets. This column discusses new evidence showing that something similar goes on in the US. Over the ten trading days following the announcement of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary, financial firms with a connection to […]
The aim of the above header is to link two names in people’s minds, both of them Italian: Mario Draghi and Matteo Renzi. Naturally the idea is not original, the FT’s Peter Spiegel recently published an entire blog post (Does Renzi owe his job to Draghi?) trying to establish some sort of connection between the arrival in office of Italy’s Matteo Renzi and the recent German Constitutional Court ruling. But this post is not about rumour, it is about coincidences.
Italian stocks and bonds have rallied strongly on ideas that the Italian situation can only get better. It is exactly such time, when so many observers are nearly euphoric, that the smart money may want to take some profits.
Conditions in Venezuela are reaching boiling point. Venezuelans – particularly students – are taking it to the streets, as protests sparked by worsening living conditions have turned violent (see story). Inadequate supplies of food and medicine are becoming a serious issue. Suppression of free speech by jailing students is adding to protesters’ fury. The Maduro administration of course is blaming all this on what they call the “rebirth of neo-Nazi movement” that is trying to orchestrate a coup d’é·tat.
The events of the last week have made it very clear that Scottish independence would affect all of the UK. I have no vote in this referendum, but I definitely have an interest in its outcome.
Here is the heart of the matter. It is not the motivation to make money that makes people efficient with resources. It is having a single clearly-defined purpose. When objectives are unclear, money is inevitably wasted.
By Marc Chandler Political developments in Italy are happening faster than Prime Minister Letta can maneuver. The economy he is overseeing is the poster child of ECB President Draghi’s assessment of a weak, fragile and uneven recovery in the euro area. While Spain’s Target2 imbalances are gradually declining, Italy’s are edging higher. The economy is lagging behind Spain in the […]