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Solutions to the Greek debt crisis should be found through pragmatism not blame

The Greek crisis is not simply the result of Athens’ inept public administration but also of an extensive carry trade on eurozone convergence by northern European banks, notably in France and Germany, which obtained short-term profits by matching northern eurozone liabilities with southern eurozone assets. For every foolish borrower there is usually a foolish lender.

We can reform the economics curriculum without creating new disciplines

Following the global financial crisis there has been much discussion of curriculum reform in university economics teaching. More pluralism is required, but there is no need for “two communities within the same discipline”.

Why our planes are growing safer and our finances are not

One reason modern air travel is reassuringly safe is that investigation into accidents is honest and thorough. The contrast with finance could hardly be greater.

It’s too risky to rely on financial risk models

Extremes among observed outcomes are much more often the product of “off-model” events than the result of vanishingly small probabilities. The implication is that most risk models are unsuitable for the principal purpose for which they are devised: protecting financial institutions against severe embarrassment or catastrophic failure.

Rise in US and UK inequality principally due to financialisation and executive pay

The people who ran big companies were always relatively well paid, but the meaning of “relatively well paid” is now altogether different. Finance employs more people, recruits more able people and pays them a lot more. These effects have not been seen in countries, such as France and Germany, that have proved more resistant to financialisation.

Why simple and robust regulation is the way to reduce financial complexity

Much of the complexity of modern finance is the result of regulatory arbitrage – avoiding or minimising restrictions by engaging in a transaction with more or less identical effect but more favourable regulatory treatment. Many regulators still cling to the hope that it could be eliminated if only rules were sufficiently extensive and sufficiently carefully prescribed. But this is an illusion.

How the health and safety culture can curb moral hazard

What does the death rate from violent accident in England over seven centuries tell us about moral hazard in the financial system?

Why banking crises happen in America but not in Canada

John contrasts Timothy Geithner’s firefighting approach to financial crises with the analysis of their political origins of Calomiris and Haber in Fragile by Design

Angry economics students are naive – and mostly right

Economics students are – yet again – expressing dissatisfaction with the content of their curriculum. They are right

Regulators will get the blame for the stupidity of crowds

Just as dammed water finds new channels of escape, crowdfunding seems to provide a way around the blockage.