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The pitfalls of a north Atlantic free trade area

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is currently being negotiated between America and the EU. My instinct is to approve, but the international handling of investor-state disputes may have some nasty side effects.

Why worry about deflation?

Our perception that inflation is the normal condition is no more than a reflection of the experience of people alive today. And there is no qualitative difference between an economy in which prices are rising slightly and one in which prices are falling slightly.

English law cannot stop Scots being sterling squatters

In today’s world of global business and finance, people make agreements in whatever currency they like and under whatever legal system they choose.

For truth on immigration, look to the Bard not politicians

Politicians, like gang bosses and football fans, routinely attempt to establish or reinforce their leadership by inciting hostility to other groups.

They may not find a Jobs – but Pisa tests lean in the right direction

To say comparisons of academic performance are always imperfect and open to revision is not to say they cannot be made at all.

The oft-forgotten basics of negotiation

Negotiations over Scottish independence are framed by the observation that neither the rest of the UK nor the EU has anything significant to gain from such negotiation – or any wish to conduct such negotiation at all.

The power of the bond markets is a bluff waiting to be called

President Nicolas Sarkozy was reported to have told aides “if France loses its triple A rating, I’m dead”. A few days later France lost that status; a few months later, Mr Sarkozy was out of office.

A currency is anything that two people agree is a currency

Money is a confidence game; its value depends entirely on the willingness of other people to accept it.

Britain is leading the world on banking reform

Globally, the Bank of England has been the main source of fresh and sceptical thinking on the future of the financial sector. While this has won it few friends in the City of London, such unpopularity is a mark of success not failure.

Don’t blame the havens – tax dodging is everyone else’s fault

Corporation tax is a tax on corporate activity and on shareholders, and it is not well designed to achieve either purpose.